Indian Railways has embarked on a project to construct the world’s tallest bridge pier in the state of Manipur at an estimated cost of $49.87m (Rs3.74bn).

This infrastructure will be erected under the 111km-long Jiribam-Imphal railway project, which will link Imphal, the capital of Manipur, with the broad-gauge network of India.

The bridge, which will be built at a pier height of 141m, is said to break the current record of 139m of Mala – Rijeka viaduct, Montenegro in Europe.

The project’s chief engineer Sandeep Sharma was quoted by Asian News International (ANI) as saying: “With the completion of the project, the 111km of distance will be covered in two to two-and-a-half hours.

“Presently, the distance between Jiribam-Imphal (NH-37) is 220km, which took about 10-12 hours of travelling. After the construction, the bridge crossing Noney valley will become the world’s highest pier bridge.”

Construction work on the bridge is slated to be finished by December 2023.

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Sharma added: “The first phase which extends for 12km has already been commissioned. Nearly 98% of the work is complete on the second phase and by February 2022, it will be ready.

“The third phase from Khongsang to Tupul will be completed by November 2022. The fourth and the last phase of the bridge which extends from Tupul to Imphal valley, will be completed by December 2023.”

Nearly 61% of the 111km project will include tunnels.

Construction work may face hurdles as the region experiences heavy rainfall from April to October which causes landslides.

In July this year, Manipur was finally linked to the Indian railway network following a trial run of a passenger train.