The world’s highest railway bridge, which lies between the villages of Bakkal and Kauri in the Reasi district of southern Jammu and Kashmir, is set to open soon. The bridge was built at a cost of $168 million.
In the middle of the mighty Himalayas in Indian-administered Kashmir lies the world’s highest railway bridge.
The bridge over the Chenab River – 1,315-metre-long (4,314 feet) and 359-metre-high (1,177 feet) from the bed of the river – will link the remote region with India’s vast railway network by providing all-weather connectivity.
At the peak of the winter, a large part of the disputed region is cut off from the rest of India.
The bridge, taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, lies between the villages of Bakkal and Kauri in Reasi district of the southern Jammu area of Kashmir.
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Constructed at a cost of $168m, the bridge is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link project (USBRL), which will connect the region’s main city of Srinagar with mainland India through rail networks on which work started in 1999.
The arch bridge, made of 28,000 tonnes of steel, is considered an engineering marvel as it is built in an area prone to high seismic activity. The rough and uneven terrain also sees frequent landslides and harsh weather conditions.
The 119km-long (73 miles) railway project comprises 38 tunnels and 931 bridges having a combined length of 13km (8 miles) to make the railway link possible.
Prior to its construction, the engineers had to make a 26km (19 miles) approach road and a 400-metre-long (1,300 feet) tunnel to reach the site of the bridge.
While inspecting the completion of the bridge last month, Ashwini Vaishnaw, India’s railway minister, conceded that it was the most difficult engineering challenge for the department.
India has approved the National Quantum Mission in a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The project is expected to cost ₹6,000 crore.