Reviewing the Kashmir rail link project, Union Minister of State for Railways, Darshana Jardosh has called upon the engineers to expedite the remaining portion of the national project on a mission mode.
Appreciating the quality of work being executed in the mega project, she said the initiatives are aimed at the development of the region and rail link will be vital for Jammu and Kashmir.
While visiting the Chenab bridge, the world’s highest railway bridge, she observed Indian Railways is edging closer to connecting Kashmir Valley to the rest of the railway network.
The Minister was accompanied by Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) CAO, SP Mahi and other senior railways officials.
Mahi briefed the Minister about the project and explained the various features of Chenab bridge in the course of inspection of the bridge.
She said the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to get a good railway transportation system to remain connected to the rest of the country all round the year shall be fulfilled.
After successfully completing milestones of arch closure and golden joint last year, the work of track linking on Chenab Bridge was completed in March.
Out of the Total 272 km USBRL project, 161 km of railway track has been
commissioned in three stages with first phase of 118 km Baramulla-Qazigund commissioned in 2009, second phase of 18 km Qazigund-Banihal commissioned in 2013 which has the longest operational transportation tunnel of 11.2 km in India.
The third phase of 25 km Udhampur-Katra was commissioned in 2014.
The World's highest railway bridge, Chenab Bridge is located on the Katra-Banihal stretch of the USBRL, which is the most challenging part of the project due to its complex topography and adverse weather conditions.
A large number of tunnels and bridges are part of the alignment of the USBRL Project.
The alignment crosses deep gorges of Chenab River near Salal Hydro Power Dam, which necessitates the construction of a long span bridge. For the first time since independence, USBRL will provide all-weather rail connectivity to Kashmir Valley.
In view of the importance of the USBRL in providing seamless and hassle-free connectivity to Kashmir, the 272 km-long USBRL project was declared as a National Project; in 2002.
Having a length of 1,315 m with a central arch span of 467 m, this iconic bridge across the Chenab river is being constructed at a height of 359 m above sea level which is higher than Qutub Minar's 72 m height and Eiffel Tower's 324 m height making it the tallest railway bridge on the planet.
According to the Railways, the bridge has been designed for a wind speed of 266 kmph with 28,660 million tons of steel and more than 67,000 cubic metre of concrete is used in the bridge construction.
A continuous health monitoring and warning system is being provided for the state-of-the-art instrumentation in the bridge.
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