Tamil Nadu

Work on new Pamban rail bridge gains momentum

Foundation work for the new Pamban rail bridge under way. Photo: L. Balachandar  

Construction of a massive new Pamban rail bridge connecting the mainland with the pilgrimage island of Rameswaram has gained momentum after the work suffered due to the lockdown.

“We are getting migrant workers from Jharkhand in batches and the work of sinking pile foundation on the seabed is under way,” said a senior official of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) that is executing the ₹248-crore project.

The contract for constructing bridge with a steel superstructure parallel to the century-old Pamban rail bridge was awarded in August 2019 and the work started in October.

However, even as mobilisation of special equipment and materials for sinking 333 pile foundations were under way, the work had to be halted after the lockdown announcement.

Migrant workers back

RVNL officials have already brought a bus-full of skilled workers from Jharkhand and another batch of workers was on the way.

The project envisaged construction of the bridge connecting Mandapam and Pamban railway stations.

The new bridge would be 50 metres away on the northern side of the old rail bridge.

Though initially the Indian Railways had proposed to replace the Scherzer’s span (two arms lifting) that allows ships to pass through the Pamban Channel at a cost of ₹25 crore, it gave up the proposal and planned for the second sea bridge.

New bridge

The major difference the new bridge will have is a vertical lift span.

“Instead of the 65.23-metre-long rolling lift span, the new bridge will have a vertical lift with a longer span of 72.5 metres that will help an easier navigation of ships through the channel,” the official said.

While the old bridge has an open foundation, the new bridge will have deeper foundation.

“Since, the alignment of the new bridge does not have any rocky bed, on which the old bridge was constructed, we have adopted deeper foundation on the seabed for the new bridge,” the official added.

The foundation would be around 30 to 40 metres below the seabed. So far, work on 14 out of the 333 foundations has been completed, he added.

Double line

The official added that the sub-structure has been designed for a double line on the new bridge. “Though the second line on the bridge would come up when the doubling work is taken up on the section in future, the navigational span will be provided with double line,” he added.

Stating that the rail bridges were located on highly corrosive environment, once the new bridge is constructed, the old bridge would be decommissioned and removed as it would be difficult to maintain the steel structure.

The project is scheduled to be completed by August 2021.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 10:18:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/work-on-new-pamban-rail-bridge-gains-momentum/article32384678.ece

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