New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The construction of the arch closure of the iconic Chenab Bridge, the world's highest railway bridge, was completed on Monday by the India Railways. The bridge is a part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project (USBRL). The construction is considered a major leap towards the completion of the 111 km-long winding stretches from Katra to Banihal.

According to the Railway ministry, the Arch closure was one of the most difficult parts of the bridge over Chenab and 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.

PM Modi also lauded the completion of the Arch of the Chenab Bridge and termed it as an example of changing work culture marked by the ethos of "sankalp se siddhi". "Capability and trust of the countrymen is setting an example before the world. This feat of construction does not only showcase the growing prowess of India in the field of modern engineering and technology but also is an example of changing work culture marked by the ethos of 'sankalp se siddhi'," PM Modi tweeted.

Here's all you need to know about the Chenab Bridge:

- The Chenab Bridge -- having a length of 1.315 km -- will be the highest railway bridge in the world being 359m above the river bed level and will be 35 meters higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris (France). It involves the fabrication of 28,660 metric tonnes of steel, 10 lakh cum earthwork, 66,000 cum concrete, and 26 km motorable roads.

- At present, it takes 12 hours via road (Katra-Banihal), but after completion of the bridge, distance via train would be halved. The completion is expected in two years.

- According to the ministry, 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 was done for the first time on Indian Railways.

- The most sophisticated 'Tekla' software and steel suitable for -10degC to 40degC temperature has been used for structural detailing of the bridge.

- The Chenab bridge is designed for blast load in consultation with the DRDO for the first time in India and can withstand high wind speed up to 266 km per hour and bear earthquake forces of the highest intensity zone-V in India.

- Meanwhile, the bridge will remain operational at a restricted speed of 30 km per hour even after the removal of one pier/trestle.

- As per the ministry, for the first time on Indian Railways, a Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing machine used for testing welds and NABL accredited lab was established at the site for weld testing, adding that 584km welding was 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's which is 72m.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan