Overarch deck of Chenab Rly bridge in Reasi completed with golden joint

Railway bridge over river Chenab completed on Saturday. - Excelsior/Romesh Mengi

Major step towards linking Kashmir with rail
Will have minimum lifespan of 120 years
Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Aug 13: In a major step forward towards completion of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link (USBRL) to connect Kashmir with rail from across the country, overarch deck of Chenab Railway bridge built over village Kauri in Reasi districts was today completed with a golden joint.
Built over mighty river Chenab and named Chenab bridge, it spans the river 359 metres above the riverbed.
The linking of overarch deck of the bridge with golden joint was marked by jubilation by the staff working there with tricolours fluttering atop the bridge and workers shouting slogans like ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. A tricolour was unfurled on top of the bridge to coincide with ongoing `Tiranga Utsav’ on 75th year of Independence, officials told the Excelsior.
Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh, who represents Udhampur-Reasi-Doda-Kathua Parliamentary constituency, hailed the linking of overarch deck of Chenab Railway bridge which will connect Kashmir with Kanyakumari by rail in the coming months.
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Span of the bridge is about 35 metres higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris and 84 metres more than the current record holder for the world’s highest bridge, a 275 metres high bridge across the Bepanjiang river in China.
The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link project is the Indian Railways’ among the most challenging works, the officials said.
“This is a historic moment,” a senior official said, adding that the completion of the ‘golden joint’ has been a long journey.
The term ‘golden joint’ was coined by the Civil Engineers who worked on connecting the two ends of the deck of the bridge, he said.
Roughly, the 1.3-km bridge, which is being constructed at a cost of Rs 1,250 crore, is 98 per cent complete with the completion of the ‘golden joint’, officials said.
The bridge forms a crucial link in the 111-km stretch from Katra to Banihal, which is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla section of the Kashmir Railway project, the officials said.
For constructing the bridge, pylons were erected on either side of the river and two auxiliary self-propelled cable cranes were used to tow temporary auxiliary ropes across these pylons, according to the officials.
More than 1,300 workers and 300 engineers have been working round the clock to complete the bridge.
The construction started in 2004 but the work was stopped in 2008-09 to consider the aspect of safety of rail passengers
They added that the Chenab bridge is situated at 359 metres above river bed, is 1.32 kilometres long and is expected to withstand winds of up to 266 kilometres per hour while remaining unaffected by grenade blasts.
It will connect the Salal A and Dugga Railway stations on either side of the bridge with the mighty river Chenab in Reasi district.
“It is a major achievement towards the completion of 111kilometres long Katra-Banihal railway section, for which massive Himalayan hills are being mined,” the officials said.
The bridge superstructure on the arch was incrementally being pushed from two ends of the Chenab River valley, and it finally met at the middle of the arch today.
“The reason it is called golden joint is the intricacies in the coordinates to make sure it fits perfectly. An iconic bridge that involved complex engineering, Chenab Bridge faced multiple obstacles. Starting from the geology, the terrain and the hostile climate, the Engineers and Railway officials have faced it all to reach this moment,” the officials said.
In the Chenab Bridge, 93 deck segments, each weighing about 85 tonnes, have been simultaneously launched from both ends of the Valley over the mighty steel arch. Both ends finally met to complete the bridge overarch deck and the segments were joined with the help of High Strength Friction Grip (HSFG) bolts to mark the golden joint, they added.
This will complete the bridge over the Chenab river and herald a new chapter in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The overarch deck completion, 359 metres above the Chenab riverbed, is an extraordinary achievement. This golden joint will usher in a golden moment in the history of Indian Railways and will become a golden chapter in the history of Jammu and Kashmir,” the officials said.
Around 30,350 MT of steel has been used in the 1315 metres long Chenab Railway bridge construction. The number of pillars is 17.
Nearly10,620 MT of steel has been consumed in the construction of the gigantic arch, and 14,504 MT of steel has gone into the construction of the bridge deck.
The steel used in the structure is suitable for temperature ranging from 10 degree Celsius to minus 40 degree Celsius. The bridge will have a minimum lifespan of 120 years and will be built for trains at a speed of 100 kilometres per hour.
The bridge, on upstream of Salal Dam, is situated near Kauri village in Reasi district of Jammu region.
The wonderful achievement has been attracting a lot of interesting takes across the country.
One of these was when an industrialist suggested the location to the makers of the James Bond franchise.
Retweeting a photo of the breathtaking Chenab bridge from J&K, he suggested that it could be the perfect location for the opening scene of the next James Bond movie.