BASOHLI: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has dedicated the first cable-stayed bridge of north India in Kathua district to the nation today, which will provide close connectivity between the three states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
Flanked by Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh and Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag, Parrikar today inaugurated the cable stayed-bridge on river Ravi at Basholi situated on Dunera-Basohli-Bhadharwah road. The Basohli bridge is fourth of its kind in India. The other three cable-stayed bridges are, Hooghly Bridge at Kolkata, Naini Bridge in Allahabad and Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link in Mumbai, officials said.
With the completion of the bridge, connectivity and tourism between the three states will improve. The work on the maiden cable-stay bridge of the state was started in September 2011 on the demand of people of Basohli where over 22 villages were submerged in water and evacuated to other places after the construction of Ranjit Sagar dam.
The 592 metre span bridge is being constructed by Border Roads Organization (BRO) at the cost of Rs 145 crore. It is a joint venture of IRCON a Railway Company and SP Singla Construction group. Out of 592 metre span bridge, 350 metres is cable-stayed while rest is plain bridge.
"A typical cable-stayed bridge is a deck with one or two pylons erected above the piers in the middle of the span," officials said, adding, "The cables are attached diagonally to the girder to provide additional supports."
"The pylons form the primary load-bearing structure in these types of bridges. Large amounts of compression forces are transferred from the deck to the cables to the pylons and into the foundation," they said.
The officials said these bridges have a low center of gravity which makes them efficient in resisting earthquakes. "Cable-stayed bridges provide outstanding architectural appearance due to their small diameter cables and unique overhead structure," they added.
"The peculiarity of this bridge is that the main span and back span are balanced by cable and this bridge has been designed by Canadian Company, Infinity Engineers. IIT New Delhi had approved the design of this bridge," they said.
Nearly 300 tonnes of specially designed cables are needed for the bridge which are being procured from Japan and Spain, they said.
"The span layout is symmetric (121 metre–350 metre-121 metre) with pylons positioned at the top of the river banks. Two inclined cable planes splay outwards from each pylon in a semi-fan configuration, connecting to the super-structure at 14-meter spacing in the main span and 10.3 meters in the side spans," they said. "Near the abutments, three sets of intermediate piers spaced at just over 20 meters form a secondary support system.
When complete, the bridge will accommodate two lanes of traffic as well as two footpaths," the officials said. The bridge will act as a lifeline for people of Basohli and Bani tehsils and it will shorten their distance of travel to Punjab and HP. It will also prove to be a boost to the socio-economic development of the region, in terms of an increase in tourism and commercial activities, and due to reduced distances to other important places like Dalhousie and Chamba, they said.
The construction of this bridge will help in promotion of tourism in the area as a large number of tourists visiting picnic spot of Dalhousie and other sight seeing places in neighbouring HP can also visit the Ranjit Sagar Dam at Basohli provided it is being developed as a tourist spot.
Moreover, it will also help in boosting pilgrimage tourism and other tourists to sight-seeing places in Basohli, Bani and Billawar tehsils. This bridge is strategically important from defence point of view as well and it also has the second longest span in India. "It was the most challenging task before the BRO engineers to accomplish this task," they said.
"Not only the Indian engineers and consultants, the agencies from Canada, Japan, Spain and Switzerland have also been engaged for the completion of this prestigious project by the BRO authorities", they said.
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi set into motion the construction of the bridge by laying foundation stone on river Ravi at Basohli in Kathua district in May 2011. Described as an engineering marvel in this part of the country, the work on the project was commenced in September 2011.