Indian Railways on March 5, 2021, completed the Arch closure of the iconic Chenab Bridge which is the world's highest railway bridge. This is a major step towards the completion of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project (USBRL) project.
Chenab Bridge is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project (USBRL), which set an important construction milestone with the completion of the steel arch of the iconic Chenab Bridge. This was one of the most difficult parts of the bridge over Chenab.
This achievement is a major leap towards the completion of the 111 k.m. long winding stretch from Katra to Banihal. It is arguably the biggest civil-engineering challenge faced by any railway project in India in recent history.
The 5.6-meter last piece of metal was fitted at the highest point and joined the two arms of the arch that currently stretch towards each other from both the banks of the river. This completed the shape of the arch that will then loom over the treacherous Chenab, flowing some 359 metres below.
After completion of the arch work, removal of the stay cables, filling of the concrete in the arch rib, erection of the steel trestle, launching of the viaduct and track laying work will be taken up.
The completion of the historic Arch work was also witnessed by Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Railways, Commerce & Industry and Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution; Suneet Sharma, Chairman & CEO, Railway Board; Ashutosh Gangal, General Manager Northern Railway through video conferencing.
Salient Features of the Arch of the iconic Chenab Bridge
- Indian Railways is constructing the iconic Arch Bridge on River Chenab as a part of the USBRL project to connect the Kashmir valley to the rest of the nation.
- This bridge is 1315m long.
- This is the highest Railway Bridge in the world being 359m above the river bed level.
- It will be 35 meters higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris (France).
- Construction of the Bridge involved the fabrication of 28,660 MT steel, 10 Lakh Cum Earthwork, 66,000 Cum Concrete and 26 km motorable roads.
- The arch consists of steel boxes. Concrete will be filled in boxes of the Arch to improve stability.
- The overall weight of Arch is 10,619 MT.
- Erection of the members of the arch by overhead cable cranes done for the first time on Indian Railways.
- The most sophisticated ‘Tekla’ software used for structural detailing.
- Structural steel is suitable for -10°C to 40°C temperature.
Some Unique Features of Chenab Bridge
- The total estimated cost of this bridge is Rs 1,486 crores.
- The total length of the bridge is 1.315 km. This bridge has a total of 17 spanes.
- The design life of this bridge is 120 years.
- The train can pass this bridge at the maximum speed of 100 kmph.
- Bridge designed to withstand high wind speed up to 266 kmph.
- Bridge designed for blast load in consultation with DRDO for the first time in India.
- The bridge will remain operational at a restricted speed of 30 Km/Hour even after the removal of one pier/trestle.
- Bridge designed to bear earthquake forces of highest intensity zone-V in India.
- First time on Indian Railways, a Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing machine used for testing welds.
- First time on Indian Railways, NABL accredited lab established at the site for weld testing.
- Approx. 584Km welding done to join the different parts of the structure, which is to the tune of the distance between Jammu Tawi to New Delhi.
- The height of the cable crane’s pylon at Srinagar End is 127m, which is much taller than Qutub Minar of Delhi (72m).
- Launching of curved viaduct portion done for the first time on Indian Railways using End Launching Method.
- Extensive health monitoring and warning systems planned through state of art instrumentation.
Major Contractors involved in this project
- Executing Agency: Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd.
- Contractor: M/s Chenab Bridge Project Undertaking [Ultra-AFCONS-VSL(JV)]
- Viaduct & Foundations Designer: M/s WSP (Finland)
- Arch Designer: M/s Leonhart, Andra and Partners (Germany)
- Foundation Protection Designer: Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore
- Proof Consultant for Foundation & Foundation Protection: M/s URS, UK
- Proof Consultant for Superstructure of Viaduct & Arch: M/s COWI, UK
- Slope Stability Analysis: M/s ITASCA, USA (Independent Consultant)
- Slope Stability Analysis: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi
- Seismic Analysis: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi & Roorkee