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India's first pylon bridge is finally ready

By Anil Bhat in Jammu
April 23, 2008 16:01 IST
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Thirty-one years after its first foundation stone was laid, the country's first pylon to pylon bridge connecting Srinagar with bordering districts of Rajouri and Poonch will be opened for traffic by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday.

The 280-meter-long bridge supported by steel pillars is the longest one in the state.

"The country's first PTP bridge will be inaugurated by the prime minister on April 25 and it will connect Rajouri and Poonch districts with Srinagar," official sources told PTI in Jammu.

It took 31 long years for a concrete bridge to come up across the Chenab and will replace the existing steel-girder span.

What was envisioned to be done at a cost or Rs 77 lakh in 1977 was finally accomplished this year at a cost of Rs 23 crore.

The then chief minister Sheikh Mohmmad Abdullah had laid the foundation stone of this bridge on April 7, 1977.

In 1984, another foundation stone was laid for the construction of the bridge by a Central minister.

The construction of the bridge, which is the longest pre-stressed concrete span among all bridges in the country, was sanctioned in May 1977 at a cost of Rs 77 lakh by Border Road Organisation, an official said, adding the contract for construction was awarded to NBCC limited and work commenced in 1978.

However, it was later abandoned.

Located at a distance of 800 meters from the old Akhnoor bridge on the right side of the Jammu-Reasi road, the bridge, whose third foundation was laid by Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on April 28, 2006, has been constructed by BRO within a period of about 20 months.

BRO claims that it is the shortest period in which a bridge has been completed across the country.

The bridge would be an alternative to the existing steel-girder bridge, which is in constant need of repairs.

The old bridge was considerably damaged by unprecedented floods in 1992, BRO sources said, adding another bridge was constructed by the northern railway in April 1993.

However, over a period of time, certain defects were noticed in the vital bridge and as a precautionary measure, the bridge was closed for vehicular traffic for two hours daily for maintenance work, they said.

An expert committee was formed during August 1995, which suggested in March 1997 that the bridge be constructed without midstream piers.

The overall width of the bridge is 12 m and it has been constructed using segmental construction technique and is supported with bearings.

It has four shock transmission units imported from France to withstand earthquakes.

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Anil Bhat in Jammu
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