Longest railway bridge coming up

KOCHI: The 4.62-km railway bridge over the Vembanad Lake cutting across the island of Mulavukad will become India’s longest rail bridge when it is commissioned in November this year.

The bridge that snakes its way over the Vembanad Lake is part of the nearly 9-km railway link that is being built for the Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal.

The Vallarpadam bridge will beat the current longest rail bridge, the Nehru Setu Bridge near Dehri on river Sone in Bihar, by more than a kilometre.

“It is the longest bridge being built in the shortest time,” said an official of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, which is executing the work. When it is commissioned, it would have taken 18 months to complete the work, with the efforts of an average of 500 labourers and 50 engineers daily.

The total cost of the rail link for the Vallarpadam project, including the railway station and goods yard at Edappally, is Rs.246 crore. The work is being funded completely by the Union government. A total of 11,000 tonnes of ordinary steel and 2,500 tonnes of high tensile steel will be required for the 133 spans of the bridge. Its 133 pillars are built on piles sank to depths ranging between 45 and 55 metres.

Just as ambitious as the bridge is the Vallarpadam transhipment terminal project that expects to handle three million TEUs of containerised cargo a year once it is commissioned.

A total of Rs.3,000 crore, spread over two phases, will be invested in the project, which will have a capacity to receive vessels up to 8,000 TEU.

The transhipment terminal will be run by India Gateway Terminals Limited, part of Dubai Ports World.

http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/24/stories/2009042457850200.htm