Very soon, a train from Kanyakumari can reach all the way to Kashmir uninterrupted. That's once the construction of the Chenab Bridge has been completed.
On Monday, a half-a-kilometre long arch, the defining feature of the world’s highest railway bridge was fitted. And it was no mean task.
Completing the arch was the most difficult part of the Rs 1,400-crore project which has been one of the most challenging civil engineering projects in recent times.
Here's why the bridge is a landmark project:
The length of the bridge will be 1,315 metres with 17 spans.
The bridge will soar 359 metres above the Chenab river (and 30 metres higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris).
It will be a big step towards the completion of the 111 km long route from Katra to Banihal.
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After it's completed, a train from Kanyakumari can reach Kashmir, uninterrupted. It will provide all-weather connectivity between Kashmir and the rest of India.
According to a railway ministry statement, the bridge is designed to withstand high wind speed up to 266 km/hour.
The bridge will be able to withstand earthquakes with a magnitude of up to eight and high-intensity blasts.
Built with steel, the arch will be able to resist temperatures of minus 20 degree Celsius and wind speeds of above 200 kilometre per hour.
It's been mired in some controversy as it's located in the Seismic Zone IV in the young and still evolving mountains of the Himalayas, and therefore prone to earthquakes.