The world's 'tallest' bridge is set to be built at Noney, a small district in the north-eastern state of Manipur, which will ensure rail-connectivity to Imphal, the remote capital of the state, to the rest of India.
The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has already started construction in Noney, which will complete a 111km-long Jiribam-Tripul-Imphal line, to make Imphal's first connection to broad gauge line.
"This bridge near Noney in Manipur has a height of pillars rising up to 141 metres," D Borah, Senior Public Relations Officer of the NFR, told The Times of India. "This bridge is slated to become the tallest in the world from the point of view of pillar height, surpassing the existing tallest of Mala-Rijeka viaduct on Belgrade-Bar railway line in Europe where the height of pillars in 139 metres."
Due to this bridge, Imphal would gain broad gauge railway connection with the rest of India. This rail line goes through an array of steep hilly regions in the Patkai Hills of the eastern region of the Himalayas.
Trains travelling on this line must travel through a number of harsh landscapes, including many low-flowing rivers and a number of deep gorges. Due to this rough terrain, the NFR has deemed it necessary to build tall bridges and innumerable tunnels. The total length of all the tunnels on this line adds up to around 55 kilometres. Two of the longest tunnels that trains on this line would have to traverse are 10.75 kilometres and 4.9 kilometres long, travelling between Tupul and Imphal, and Jiribam and Tupul, respectively.
"The railways had constituted an expert group to study the possible alternative span arrangements of such tall bridges, considering the parameters like the length of span, type of span, location of the piers, constructability, serviceability, geological features, possible tectonic and movement," said Borah.
"Based on the recommendations of the expert group, it was decided that the main structure will be of steel open web through type girders of 103.5 metres span (centre to centre of bearings). The pillars are of reinforced cement concrete hollow type with the tallest pillar being 141 metres high. The height of the other piers of this bridge varies from 50 metres to 90 metres."
Borah also said that another record-breaking bridge construction is underway in India. This bridge would help trains cross the river Chenab in Jammu & Kashmir, and would help bridge a gorge that is said to be 360 metres deep, if the depth of the river bed is to be included. This bridge is said to be the highest railway bridge in the world.