North-East India is all set to witness a major boost! The ambitious railway line project between Jiribam and Imphal in Manipur, connecting the capital city with the broad gauge network of the country, will be completed by the year 2020. Called Bridge No 164 by Indian Railways, the world’s tallest girder railway bridge, will have a pier height almost twice as high as Qutub Minar – 141 metres! The announcement has been made by the project Chief Engineer Sai Baba Ankala recently in Visakhapatnam. He informed that the project was taken up in the year 2008 at a cost of Rs 13,809 crore. The Jiribam-Imphal railway link has been declared as a national project. Interestingly, three IITs of the country namely, Kanpur, Roorkee and Guwahati are also associated with this project of Indian Railways in terms of technical support as well as proof-checking of designs in order to make the bridge cost-efficient and sustainable.
According to the Chief Engineer, the alignment of the Jiribam-Imphal railway line, which is 111 km long, passes through steep rolling hills of the Patkai region which must traverse through a number of deep gorges and also over several rivers that are flowing at low ground levels. He further said that as a result of this, it has been necessary to develop as many as 52 tunnels and 149 bridges crossing 10 stations in order to maintain a suitable gradient for efficient operation of railway services. As a part of the railway project, a special bridge is also being constructed (bridge no.164) with pillars rising to 141 metres, which is the tallest in the world from the point of view of pillar height, he informed.
As the bridge is located in seismic zone-v, all precautions are being taken particularly a site-specific design spectrum had been developed in order to make sure long-term stability of the bridge, he said. Despite several threats from militant outfits operating in the area, the railway line and the bridge are still being built. To ensure safety, the surveillance of the bridge through CCTVs, drone cameras as well as remote monitoring by several sensors are also being considered, the Chief Engineer added.
The bridge is being constructed across the valley of river Ijai near Noney and it has been designed to run trains at a maximum speed of 120 kmph. Earlier, the national transporter claimed that the bridge will help in crucial freight movement as it has been designed to carry up to 25-ton axle-load freight trains.