Aiming at minimising the possible bomb blast impact on the Chenab bridge, the tallest rail bridge in the world, Indian Railways has undertaken a fool-proof arrangement, a first in the rail sector in India.
With installation of 165 steel decks, the 359 metre tall steel and concrete arch bridge between Bakkal and Kauri in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, a crucial one in the Kashmir rail link project, is nearing completion on a faster pace.
Taking nothing to chance, the railway engineers are mounting a 780 metre long blast protection platform on the surface of the bridge, which is being built to absorb the impact of any possible explosion during the train operation.
The blast protection platform is being installed on both sides of the track on the bridge.
Besides, 72 sensors are being installed for the structural health monitoring of the Chenab arch bridge round the clock. These sensors would provide vital data about the wind velocity, temperature, humidity, vibrations and other required information on a real time basis.
A state-of-the-art control room with 150 servers is coming up near the bridge site to monitor the prevailing condition of the bridge once it gets operational.
Being the hilly areas, the wind velocity can vary from time to time and it is essential for railways to keep a close watch on the wind speed.
The 1,315-metre long bridge, an engineering marvel, is being built to sustain 266 kmph wind speed.
The blast protection platform comprises 165 steel decks with some 17 metre long and rest 13.5 metre long decks.
Talking to Swarajya, the chief executive officer of USBRL (Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link) project S P Mahi said, "in Indian Railways history, the Katra-Banihal section is a difficult and challenging project. Topographically, geologically and tectonically the project is full of challenges."
With other required works almost complete, the Railways would lay the tracks on the bridge as the next step.
Besides the world's highest bridge, India's longest tunnel (T-49) with a length of 12.77 km is also part of the project, Mahi added.
About 12 lakh cubic metres of earth was excavated for the massive structure over the Chenab river.
He said some globally renowned tunnelling experts are involved in the ongoing tunnelling works in the section.
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