Today, Indian Railways manages the fourth-largest rail network in the world, with tracks spanning more than 120,000 kms of the country. It’s most awaited project, the Bogibeel Bridge in the North-East part of India, is soon expected to be completed. Inspite of facing indefinite delays, weather woes due to flooding and other challenges, Indian Railways has managed to add another crucial link within the North East India…
WORDS BY- AABHA TIWARI
The Indian Railways is responsible for some extraordinary engineering marvels since it came into existence in British India around 165 years ago. One such impending project that is soon expected to see the light of day is the Bogibeel Bridge – a combined road and rail bridge over the Brahmaputra River in Assam between the Dhemaji and Dibrugarh district. Upon its successful completion by the end of this year, this bridge which cover a distance of 4.94 kms and will become the longest rail-cum-road bridge in India. This bridge comprises two railway lines and a three-lane road bridge on the top.
This Bridge is estimated to be inaugurated by our Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, himself, 16 years after by then Prime Minister, (Late) Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee laid the foundation stone in 2002. Our Prime Minister has always emphasized the need to improve India’s railway and road connectivity to the North-East states, and Bogibeel Bridge is a crucial step in that direction.
According to the Chief Engineer of the Bogibeel Project, Mr. Mohinder Singh, this Bridge is the country’s longest road bridge and is sited about 17 kms downstream of Dibrugarh town and facilitates road and rail connectivity between the north and south banks of Brahmaputra, in the eastern part of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. This project hopes to bring new economic development in the region, apart from strengthening national security border areas and enabling local trade.
This bridge has also been constructed for the smooth flow of transportation of troops and supplies to India’s border with Tibet, towards Arunachal Pradesh. The biggest challenge faced during the construction of Bogibeel Bridge was the intense rainfall during the rainy months. Construction had to be significantly slowed down due to extreme weather conditions and major development takes place during the four months between November and March. This longest road-rail bridge was granted a national project status by the Government of India in 2007. Out of the total budget, Union Ministry of Finance is funding 75% of the project cost while the Ministry of Railways will finance the rest.
Assam Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal assured people that adequate lighting will be installed on the roads connecting the Bridge using environment-friendly solar-powered lights, as a part of their commitment towards sustainable development. He also has requested the railways to plant trees on both banks connected by the bridge. Bogibeel Bridge has been built at a height of 32 metres above the water level, with a superstructure of composite welded steel and reinforced concrete in its construction. It is specially designed to carry a double line, broad gauge railway on the lower deck and a 3-lane road on the upper deck. The design of the Bogibeel Bridge is similar to that of a bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden.