JAMMU: The Indian Railways — under its mega Uddhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link project providing all-weather connectivity to the people of Kashmir with the rest of India — on Saturday laid the ‘golden joint’ of the world’s highest railway bridge on River
in a grand ceremony.
The ‘Super Arch Bridge’ on Chenab has been designed to withstand winds of up to 100kmph and has a 120-year lifespan. The height of the bridge (from the river bed to the formation) is 359m while the main arch span is 467m with a total steel fabrication of approximately 28,660MT. The other unique features of the bridge are — the use of concrete-filled trusses in the arch and power-operated cars for inspection and maintenance of the bridge, both a first in India; cable crane assembly used for erecting the bridge’s steel members with a span of 915m, one of the longest in the world. One of the pylons of the cable crane at a height of 127m is higher than the Qutub Minar (72m) and is designed to bear earthquake forces of Zone-V.
Once finished, the bridge will be 35m higher than the Eiffel Tower.
The bridge has a unique engineering style that had to overcome several challenges due to the geo-morphological character of the area in addition to rough terrain and inclement environment. To meet these challenges, engineers and experts started the work from two opposite sides and then pushed the superstructure on the arch step by step — eventually connecting the centre of the arch on Saturday. The ‘golden joint’ is the last joint of the bridge deck connecting both sides to make one continuous deck.
Launching of the 785m-long deck portion over the Chenab arch bridge is in progress from both ends of the arch, which will be joined together by a golden joint near the crown. This joint will be closed with high-strength friction grip bolts.
“This has been a long journey. The term ‘golden joint’ was coined by the engineers working on the project; it has nothing to do with gold. The golden joint is the most important joint because it not only connects both sides of the deck but also proves the quality and precision of work done by different teams of engineers and workers engaged in the construction of the bridge,”
, chairman and MD,
“This project is going to be a game-changer in Jammu and Kashmir by integrating it with the entire mainland of India and boosting the socio-economic conditions of the Union Territory,” said
, chief administrative officer, Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railways.
“The bridge would be 98% complete after the golden joint is finished,” said Afcons deputy managing director
In addition to the Chenab bridge, Afcons is building 16 additional railway bridges for Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd in the inclement terrain of J&K under the Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Rail Link project.