Katra, May 14 : A rail bridge over the Chenab river which, at 359-metre, is claimed will become the world’s tallest, will significantly improve Kashmir Valley’s connectivity with other parts of the country and also create tourism facilities that are expected to boost local employment.
The construction work on the “engineering marvel” — slated to be completed by 2019 — has already provided employment to over 1,000 local residents and the Railways has plans to turn the area into a major tourist hub with facilities for adventure sports, including bungee jumping.
The 1,315m-long bridge would be 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower and will complete the missing rail link between Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar and the rest of the country. It will join Bakkal in Katra town of Reasi district in Jammu region with Kauri in Srinagar district.
Engineers working on the project have braved several challenges, including the difficult topography, and have even had to account for high wind speeds for a structure so high.
The bridge, with a 14m-wide dual carriageway and a 1.2m-wide central verge, is part of Jammu-Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Line (JUSBRL) project of Indian Railways.
The bridge, with a lifespan of about 120 years, has unique safety features. It can withstand an earthquake of high magnitude and also high wind speeds. Sensors would measure the speed of wind and if this exceeds 90 km per hour, trains would not be allowed to pass over the bridge.