India to have world’s tallest girder rail bridge in Northeast

जिरीबाम Jiribam (JRBM): The much-delayed railway link to Manipur’s capital Imphal is set to get the world’s tallest girder rail bridge on the 125-km-long Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal route.

First included in the 2003-2004 central budget, the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal project has seen many delays and construction is not even one-third the way through, but the Railways says it has so far completed seven of the 46 tunnels on the project, with the NF Railways saying it will complete five more in the current year.

“Last week we completed Tunnel No 14 that passes under the Silchar-Imphal National Highway-37, with which we have so far completed 19.5 km of the 39.4 km of total tunnel-length that the Jiribam-Imphal track will have,” a senior NF Railay official said on Sunday. The longest tunnel on this route will be 10.7 km in length, he said.

But the biggest feat the Railways has been working on is Bridge No 164, which will have a proposed pier height of 141 metre and would make it the tallest girder rail bridge in the world.

At present, the Malarijeka via-duct in Montenegro, Europe, with a height of 139 metre is the highest such rail bridge, the official said.

Declared as a National Project in 2012, the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal project has already missed two deadlines, with the revised target for completion now fixed at 2022.

“We however want to complete the Jiribam-Tupul 84-km section by March 2016 in the first phase. This portion will require 1,310 hectares of land out of which work is in progress in 1,263 hectares. There will be 112 minor bridges and six major bridges, out of which 52 minor bridges have been already completed,” the NF Railway official said.