Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated India’s longest rail-road bridge in Assam as part of efforts to boost defence along the border with China.
PM Modi drove in a cavalcade along the 4.9 kilometre long Bogibeel bridge over the Brahmaputra river to inaugurate the project which has taken nearly two decades and $800 million or Rs. 5,600 crore to complete.
The bridge, near the city of Dibrugarh, will enable the military to speed up the dispatch of forces to neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China.
With the opening of the bridge, the rail journey from Dibrugarh to the Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar has been cut by 750 kilometres.
The bridge has been designed to bear the weight of India’s heaviest 60 tonne battle tanks and so that fighter jets can land on it.
India opened its longest bridge, the 9.1 kilometre Dhola-Sadiya bridge, in 2017 to connect Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, also to boost tactical defences.
Have a look at these pictures of the Bogibeel Bridge. pic.twitter.com/V3XcfE2uxS
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 25, 2018
We take a look at 10 facts about the Bogibeel bridge that will leave you in awe!
1. Connectivity: Bogibeel bridge, which has taken several years to build, will connect the North and South banks of river Brahmaputra in the Eastern region of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
2. Defence boost: The 4.94 kilometres long Bogibeel bridge will be a big boost for the defence forces as it will provide faster connectivity to areas near the India-China border. This means swifter movement of troops and weapons systems.
3. The journey: Bogibeel bridge is located around 17-kilometres away (downstream) of Assam’s Dibrugarh area. As stated above, the foundation stone for the Bogibeel bridge was laid on 2022 and in 2007, the UPA government had accorded it the status of a National Project. The Modi government had asked for expediting work on the bridge which had already missed several deadlines.
4. Challenges: Bogibeel bridge is also unique for the challenges that were faced in constructing it. Speaking to Financial Express Online, North-East Frontier Railway CPRo Pranav Jyoti Sharma has earlier said that crucial the work for the bridge could only happen between November and March. That’s because early flooding the river Brahmaputra makes it unsafe to continue work. The bridge required huge amounts of construction material to be mobilised in those few months. According to Sharma, the transportation of concrete across the river channels of 600 metres to 900 metres width from the banks was the biggest challenge. This was overcome by adopting pumping of concrete through pipe line laid over buoys.
It is indeed an honour to have inaugurated the Bogibeel Bridge on Atal Ji's Jayanti.
After all, he was really keen that this project see the light of day.
This and several other critical infra projects that were delayed for years are getting completed under the NDA Government. pic.twitter.com/BHaWjOndSO
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 25, 2018
5. Rail links: As mentioned above, Bogibeel is a rail-cum road bridge and will connect two existing railway networks that run at the North and South banks of river Brahmaputra. At the South bank of the river, the railway link starts from Chalkhowa and Moranhat stations and joins in between the Sisibargaon and Siripani stations of Rangiya-Murkongselek section at North Bank through the Bogibeel bridge.
The North bank railway link was converted from metre gauge to broad gauge. According to Indian Railways, the block section between Dhamalgaon and Tangani station will be a double line section under which the Bogibeel Bridge lies.
6: Road links: A 29.446 km national highway will connect NH-37 at South Bank and NH-52 at North Bank of river Brahmaputra. The national highway road link will consist of 11.25 km at South Bank, 13.26 km at North Bank and 4.94 km on the Bogibeel bridge.
7. Saving time: Bogibeel bridge’s biggest benefit is the time that it will save. As of now a train journey from Arunachal Pradesh to Assam’s Dibrugarh requires a 500 km detour via Guwahati. Now, the journey will be less than 100 km. Also, the train journey between Delhi and Dibrugarh will also come down from 37 hours at present (via Guwahati) to 34 hours – a reduction of 3 hours.
8. Fully welded structure: According to Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Bogibeel bridge is a 100% welded bridge! Technology from firms of Sweden and Denmark have been used for its construction. One advantage of a 100% welded ridge is that it is light and the fully welded girders mean reduction in the weight when compared to riveted girders.
9. Estimated cost: The Bogibeel bridge project was initially sanctioned at a cost of Rs 3230.02 crore, but the final cost was revised to Rs 4857 crore keeping in mind cost escalation and increase in the length of the bridge to 4.94 km as against 4.31 km proposed earlier.
10. Other facts: Bogibeel bridge is the second longest in Asia and has been built 32 metres above the Brahmaputra river water level. The design of the bridge is similar to that of a bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden.