Pamban Railwy Brige to use automatic lifting technology

By Pradeep Kumar

The under construction new Pamban Bridge is a railway bridge that will connect Mandapam town in mainland India with Rameswaram on Pamban Island. The new bridge is constructed parallel to replace the iconic Pamban Bridge, opened in 1914. The new Pamban Bridge with a length of 2,070-M would be India’s first ever vertical lift sea bridge once opened. It is expected to be opened by 2024 year end.

The Indian Railways decided to construct a new bridge parallel to the old Pamban Bridge after considering the latter’s age and difficulty in maintenance. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid foundation stone for the new bridge in November 2019. The construction is being executed by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited at an estimated cost of ₹550 crore.

The bridge, whose construction was started In February 2020, would have 100 spans across the sea and is 12.5-M above sea level. The new bridge will be 3-M higher than the old one.       The vertical lift span of the bridge is around 72-M. The span can be lifted because of this lift span. Automatic lifting technology is used to raise the center of the bridge to allow ships to easily pass through. The new technology will allow the bridge to have a navigational air clearance of 22-M above sea level.

This bridge would have some uncanny similarity with the beautiful Rabindra Setu which connects Kolkata to Howrah has today become an icon of Bengal’s history, culture and tourist attractions. Popularly known as Howrah Bridge, it was built in 1946 and till date, sees a massive amount of traffic on a daily basis.

The Calcutta Port Trust founded in 1870 was entrusted via the Howrah Bridge Act of 1871 to build and maintain the Bridge. The first bridge connecting the two areas was a Pontoon Bridge was built in 1874 following a contract signed with Sir Bradford Leslie. Parts of this bridge were built in England and then shipped to India to be assembled.

The first bridge over Hooghly River connecting Calcutta was opened to traffic on 17.10. 1874. It was 465.7-M long and 19-Ms wide with 2.1-M wide pavements on either side. To ensure that steamers and other water transport could pass, the bridge would be unfastened periodically. A few years later, the bridge was illuminated by using electric lamp posts.The history of the Howrah Bridge is indirectly linked to both World Wars. Although plans were made from early1900s, The construction process was halted due to World War-I and partially renewed in 1917.

The Howrah Bridge today is a proud symbol of Kolkata. It is often called the gateway to Kolkata and with good reason, as it connects the city with the Howrah Railway Junction. At the other end of the bridge is the colourful chaos of the Mullick Ghat Flower Market.  With nearly 100,000 vehicles and over 150,000 pedestrians passing by daily now, the Howrah Bridge is perhaps the busiest cantilever bridge in the world.

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