Konkan Railway Corporation (KRC), a subsidiary of Indian Railways (IR), is planning to build the world’s highest rail bridge, over the Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi District, by December 2015.
Work on the rail bridge, which is located 65km from Katra, Jammu and Kashmir, is being carried out by Mumbai-based Afcons Infrastructure and will be built at a height of 359m above the river.
The bridge is being built as part of the 345km Jammu-Udhampur-Katra-Qazigund-Baramulla railway line, on the 73km Katra-Dharam section.
In 2004, the bridge was estimated to cost Rs5.12bn ($92m), but estimates have now gone up to Rs6.5bn ($116.6m).
According to the project’s engineers, wind speeds at this height will mean that trains will not be able to pass if the wind speed rises above 90kmph.
The signalling system on the bridge has been designed to give warning signals automatically when wind speed reaches more than 90kmph.
In addition, KRC is also planning to invest Rs4bn ($71.55m) to complete excavation work on five tunnels in 2012 on the Kashmir rail link project.
Konkan Railway executive director for projects, Rajesh Agarwal, told PTI that in the last financial year, the company had spent INR2.44bn ($43.64m) on this project.
"The corporation has already spent INR14.64bn ($261.8m) till last month from the time the project was taken up in 2002," Agarwal said.
"The 1,315m long Chenab Bridge, with a central span of 467m, will use up to 25,000 million tons of steel, will be the highest in the world and it will be an engineering marvel once completed, considering the steep topography and fragile geology of the region."
The Jammu-Udhampur-Katra-Qazigund-Baramulla railway project involves an investment of about Rs50bn ($894m) and is scheduled for completion in December 2017.
Of the investment, about INR46bn ($822m) has been allocated for civil engineering, which includes construction of tunnels, bridges, stations and roads. INR3.2bn ($57.24m) has been allocated for electrical work, as well as INR850m ($15.2m) for communication work.