Rail line doubling project: deadline for completion jumps to 2020

Difficulties being faced in carrying out work on Ravi bridge
Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, Nov 24: Due to extreme difficulties being faced by the construction agency in executing work on two adjoining bridges over Ravi river near Madhopur, deadline for completion of Jammu-Pathankot-Jalandhar Rail line doubling project has once again jumped from ending 2018 to 2020.
A small patch of around 7.5 km long track from Madhopur to Kathua, involving construction of bridge number 17 and bridge number 18 on river Ravi, is causing unprecedented delay in completion of the project, which was started around 16 years back.
Official sources in the executing agency told the Excelsior that extreme difficulties were being faced in carrying out construction work for the Rail line bridge in flowing water of river Ravi thus causing delaying in completion of the project.
“Work on sub-structure of the ridge is nearing completion and likely to be finished by March 2019, which will be followed by commencement of work on super structure and it is not possible to complete the same by June 2020,” sources explained.
Listing reasons for delay in completion of the project, sources said that besides extreme difficulties in carrying out work for erecting pillars in flowing water, the executing agency was double ensuring safety measures and no compromise could be made on the same.
Even after completion of work on sub-structure, job on super structure of the bridge will also take time as it also involves intense technicalities and engineering drawing, sources further informed hinting that no exact deadline for completion of the project could be thus fixed.
The 825 meter long Ravi bridge is having 17 spans of 45.7 meter and spans of 18.3 m of steel girders. In fact these are two bridges, adjoining to each other.
The doubling of 211 km long single Railway line between Jalandhar and Jammu Tawi was sanctioned in 1997-98 at a cost of Rs 408 crores at that time and the work was started in 2002. The planned work was carried out in different sections between various Railway Stations (Block sections) as per the availability of funds. In 211 km long section, there are 26 stations in between, 406 minor bridges and 88 major bridges, including bridges across river Beas, Chakki, Ravi, Ujh and Basantar.
Even as the work on 184 kilometers of line in various block sections was completed without disturbing the existing train running operations and was commissioned between 2005-06 to 2011-12, legal hurdles and shortage of funds put brakes on the accomplishment of remaining job on doubling, particularly the construction of these major bridges, besides cast escalation. As the pace of work on the remaining sections once again gained momentum with the increased flow of funds and settling of the legal hurdles in 2014, the pending work on the balance sections from Jalandhar Cantt to Suchhi Pind (3.5 km) and from Chakki to Bharoli (2.5 kms) were completed and commissioned in 2016. 365 meters long Basantar bridge, having 12 span of 30.5m steel girders and 625m long Ujh bridge, having 27 span of 24.40m long pre-stressed concrete girders, were also completed in 2016-17 thus commissioning of the block sections between Basantar bridge block Hut and Samba Railway Station (5.5km) and Chhan Aroraian to Budhi Railway Station (8 km).


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