With the completion of its majestic arches on Monday, the construction of the iconic Chenab Arch Bridge, which will soar 359 metres above the bed of the river and 30 metres higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, will reach another milestone.
The bridge will provide the much-needed all-weather connectivity between Kashmir and the rest of the county.
The bottom ends of the main arch have already been connected, after which the upper arch will now be completed and the two will now be closed. The next step would be the laying of the tracks.
Here's everything you need to know about the Chenab Arch Bridge:
- The bridge is part of an ambitious 272-km rail link project and is being constructed by the Northern Railway at an estimated cost of ₹28,000 crore.
- The bridge will be able to withstand earthquakes with a magnitude of up to eight and high-intensity blasts.
- The bridge, which will include a 14-metre dual carriageway and a 1.2-metre-wide central verge, will have a design speed of around 100 kilometres per hour with a lifespan of 120 years.
- Steel was specifically chosen for the construction of the bridge as it will make the project more economical. The metal will also be able to resist temperatures of minus 20 degree Celsius and wind speeds of above 200 kilometre per hour.
- The preparations of the rail link began in 2002 and the initial plan was to connect Kashmir's northernmost city Baramulla to New Delhi. The project was given high priority by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Atal Bihari Vajpayee government but the project suffered several delays owing to the weather conditions and contractual issues, according to officials.
- Work on the bridge started again in July 2017 with the aim of completing the construction by the end of 2019 but due to contractual issues in 2018, it was delayed. The coronavirus pandemic also added to the delay in the construction of the project and the revised guideline for the completion of the project has now been for December 2021.