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85 per cent work on world’s highest railway bridge in J&K completed

The bridge will be 359m above the Chenab river bed -- 30m higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris

Work on India's first cable-styled bridge, also called the Anji bridge, is going on in full swing in Jammu and Kashmir's Raesi district, and 85 per cent of the work was completed by January this year.

The bridge is being touted as one of the engineering marvels of the Indian Railways.

Taking to Twitter, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said, "Infrastructural Marvel in Making: Indian Railways is well on track to achieve another engineering milestone with the steel arch of Chenab bridge reaching at closure position. It is all set to be the world's highest Railway bridge."

He also attached a photograph of the Chenab bridge.

According to Northern Railway officials, the work on the Anji bridge, which is coming up on the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) section of Northern Railway in Jammu and Kashmir, is in full swing and the major arches of the bridge will be completed by March this year, while it is supposed to be completed by 2022.

An official said that about 85 per cent work of the bridge was completed by January this year.

The bridge is being built on the Katra-Banihal railway line in Kauri village in Reasi district.

Officials said that the bridge will be 359m above the Chenab river bed — 30m higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris. An official said that the bridge has been designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 260 kmph and its lifespan will be 120 years.

According to Railway Ministry officials, it is the seventh-largest arch-shaped bridge in the world as there is no support except on both sides of the river banks. The arch is supported by piers and trusses. One of the supporting RCC and steel pillars is 133m high.

The officials said that the Chenab bridge has been designed by consultants from Finland and Germany and the work is being executed by the Konkan Railways.

Three agencies — IRCON, KRCL and Northern Railway — with extensive experience in construction of rail lines are involved in this project.

Railway Ministry officials said that many international agencies and premier Indian institutes like IIT Roorkee, IIT Delhi, DRDO and Geological Survey of India are providing expertise in planning and implementation of the project. Several sets of tunnelling machineries and cranes have also been imported.

Once completed, the Anji bridge will connect Katra and Reasi. The total length of the bridge is 473.25m. The length of the viaduct is 120m and the central embankment has a length of 94.25m. It has the support of 96 cables.

The concrete pillars of the bridge have been designed to withstand explosions, and it will include a 1.2m wide central verge and a 14m wide dual carriageway.

According to railway officials, the construction activities are in progress on the Udhamur-Katra, Katra-Quazigund and Quazigund-Srinagar-Baramulla sections of the project.

The Katra-Qazigund leg is the most difficult stretch of this project. The alignment of this stretch, which is almost 129 Km long, passes through the Patni and Pir Panjal ranges.

Railway Ministry officials said that 81.21 km of the total 97.64 km main tunnelling and 53.50 km out of 60.5 km escape tunnel works have been completed.