Bogibeel, Assam: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday inaugurated the country's longest rail-cum-road bridge over Brahmaputra river at Bogibeel near Dibrugarh in Assam.
After reaching Dibrugarh in the afternoon from New Delhi, Modi directly flew to Bogibeel in a chopper and inaugurated the 4.94-km-long double-decker bridge from the southern bank of the river.
Modi along with Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal also walked a few metres on the bridge.
The strategically important bridge over the mighty Brahmaputra will remove communication bottlenecks to several districts in Arunachal Pradesh.
The bridge, which begins at Dibrugarh and ends at Dhemaji districts of Assam, will connect parts of Arunachal Pradesh by road as well as railway.
The Bogibeel Bridge, which was a part of the Assam Accord and sanctioned in 1997-98, is likely to play a crucial role in defence movement along the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh.
Bogibeel Bridge: Benefits to people, challenges in project
1. Will last more than a century
Bogibeel, Asia's second-longest rail-cum-road bridge that will be opened to traffic by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, has a serviceable period of around 120 years, senior officials said here.
2. Only fully-welded bridge: Low maintenance cost
The 4.9 km-long Bogibeel Bridge on the Bramhaputra river is India's only fully welded bridge for which European codes and welding standards were adhered to for the first time in the country, said Chief Engineer Mohinder Singh. Singh said a fully welded bridge has a low maintenance cost.
3. Travel time cut short
The engineering marvel of Bogibeel Bridge, which begins at Dibrugarh and ends at Dhemaji districts of Assam, will connect parts of Arunachal Pradesh by road as well as railway.
The bridge reduces travel time from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh to four hours and will cut out the detour of over 170 km via Tinsukia.
It will also reduce Delhi to Dibrugarh train-travel time by about three hours to 34 hours as against 37 hours presently.
4. Envisioned by Vajpayee
Modi inaugurated the bridge to traffic on Tuesday, 16 years after it was announced by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
5. Two-deck, road-rail bridge
The bridge has a two-line railway track on the lower deck and a three-lane road on the top deck. For the first time in Indian Railways, the girder has a steel floor system for railway tracks and concrete for the road.
"Early flood in the river Brahmaputra restricted the working season to a very short period of approximately five months (from November to March) and demanded huge mobilization of construction equipment," said Singh.
6. Challenge in construction
Transportation of concrete across river channels of 600 metre to 900-metre width from both the north and south banks was the biggest challenge, Singh said.
To overcome this, concrete was pumped through pipeline laid over buoys.
"Eighty-thousand tonnes of steel plates were delivered for the project via a combination of rail and road transport, while a 1,000-tonne hydraulic jack and strand jacks linked with the substructures were used for moving steel truss over the pillars," he said.
Most 2D' automatic nesting software was used to generate efficient two-dimensional cutting plans for fabricating the steel superstructure for the bridge.
7. Medical college hospital comes nearer home
After 25 December, people, especially patients from Assam Medical College located here, can travel straight from Dibrugarh from the other side of the river instead of using the ferries.
8. Heightened national security
The bridge is part of infrastructure projects planned by India to improve logistics along the border in Arunachal Pradesh. This includes the construction of a trans-Arunachal highway on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, and new road and rail links over the mighty river and its major tributaries such as the Dibang, Lohit, Subansiri and Kameng.
The Bogibeel Bridge will strengthen the national security of the Northeast by facilitating faster movement of armed forces and their war equipment. This bridge will help in logistical support for the Indian Army deployed in Arunachal Pradesh bordering China.