The total length of the tunnels on the new Indian Railways line is 163 kilometres and of this, 126 kilometres have already completed.
Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project: One of the toughest projects for Indian Railways, the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) to be a game-changer for Jammu and Kashmir! The execution of the last stretch from Katra to Banihal, 111 km long, is currently in progress. The total length of the tunnels on the new Indian Railways line is 163 kilometres and of this, 126 kilometres have already completed. There are 37 bridges and of these, 20 bridges have already been completed. The USBRL project includes the world’s tallest arch bridge on the Chenab river, which is 359 metre high and 1315 metre long. The USBRL project which is expected to be completed by December 2022, is being executed amidst various challenges because of its inaccessible site. Here are some of the major challenges faced by Indian Railways’ USBRL project:
- The Geology of the project is very difficult, which comprises of Young Himalayan Mountains.
- The project was adversely affected because of the repeated PIL in High Court from 2008 to 2016.
- Law and Order issues have also affected the project.
- Extreme Weather Conditions is another challenge for the development of the project. The area is rainfall and snowfall-prone.
- The project progress has slowed down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, despite the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, construction works in the last stretch are going on. The USBRL project is being closely monitored by the central government, so that the lives of people in Jammu and Kashmir, improves by integration with the entire mainland of India.
The 163 km long tunnelling includes 97 km of main tunnels and 66 km of escape tunnels. As many as 18 out of 27 main tunnels and two out of eight escape tunnels have been completed already. For creating new faces for tunnel excavation simultaneously, additional adits have been identified. Six adits are already operational and two new adits are under construction.
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The USBRL project also involves construction of the Anji Bridge. It is going to be the country’s first cable-stayed Indian Railways bridge. The bridge’s main span is 290 metres in length and it is 196 metres above the bed level. The single pylon is of 193 metres in height above the well cap and 331 metres from the river bed. The Anji Bridge would be supported by as many as 96 cables.