World’s tallest rail bridge pier coming up in Northeast! Indian Railways is constructing the world’s tallest railway bridge pier at Noney Valley in the state of Manipur with a height of 141 metres. As a part of the ambitious 111 Kilometre long Jiribam-Imphal railway line, which aims to connect the capital of Manipur with the broad gauge network of the country, the travel time of 10 to 12 hours will be reduced to just 2.5 hours. The bridge at Noney Valley, which is being developed at a pier height of 141 metres, will surpass the Mala – Rijeka viaduct’s existing record of 139 meters, located in Montenegro, Europe, according to an ANI report.
Sandeep Sharma, Chief Engineer of the project, was quoted in the report saying that with the completion of the project, the 111 kilometres of distance will be covered in 2 to 2.5 hours. The distance between Jiribam and Imphal (NH-37), At present, is 220 kilometres, which takes about 10 to 12 hours of travelling. Once the construction is completed, the bridge crossing Noney valley will become the highest pier bridge in the world. The bridge is expected to be completed by December 2023, he further said.
According to Sharma, the first phase which extends for 12 kilometres has already been commissioned. In the second phase, nearly 98 per cent of the work is complete and by February 2022, it will be ready. The third phase on the section between Khongsang and Tupul will be completed by November 2022. The Project Chief Engineer further said by December 2023, the fourth and the last phase of the bridge which extends from Tupul to Imphal valley will be completed. The 111 kilometre long project consists of 61 per cent of tunnels, he continued.
The total anticipated cost of the bridge is Rs 374 crore, the Chief Engineer said. Sharma, while speaking about the hurdles and challenges that are being faced in the bridge construction, said during monsoon, landslides often occur on NH-37, which is the only route to this place. From the month of April to October, there is immense rainfall here and it is difficult to work here during that time. Also, there are some problems related to insurgency, which sometimes creates a problem, he added.