104-year-old Pamban Bridge to be replaced

The now 104-year-old Pamban Bridge was India's first sea bridge and was the longest sea bridge in India until the opening of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai in 2010

Pamban Railway Bridge, India’s first sea bridge that connects the Rameswaram island to the mainland, will be replaced by a vertical-lift bridge at a cost of Rs 250 crore within the next four years.

The 2-km bridge connecting Mandapam, the last railway station on the mainland in Indian peninsula, with the revered temple town was opened for traffic on February 24, 1914 during the British rule.

The bridge suffered severe damages during the deadly cyclone in 1964 and was restored in just 46 days by a team led by then young Indian Railways engineer E Sreedharan, who is now known as the ‘Metro Man’ for building the Delhi Metro from scratch.  

The now 104-year-old Pamban Bridge was India's first sea bridge and was the longest sea bridge in India until the opening of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai in 2010.

The proposed bridge will have a 63-metre stretch which is envisaged to lift up while remaining parallel to the deck to allow access to the ships.

“As not much residual life of the bridge is left, it has been decided to reconstruct the bridge suitable for double line including navigational lift span parallel to the existing bridge. The new bridge will have 100 spans of 18.3 m and one navigational span of 63 m,” a senior official with Southern Railway said, adding that an additional railway line will also be built.

He also said the new bridge will be 3.0 m higher than the existing bridge with navigational air clearance of 22.0 m above the sea level. Because of vertical lift, full horizontal width of 63 m will be available for navigation.

Sources said that substructure of the bridge will be built for double line and the navigational span will also have provision for double line. Entire bridge including navigational span will be designed keeping in mind the Railways plan of electrification.

In comparison to existing manual operation and control, the new bridge will have electro-mechanical controlled systems which will be interlocked with train control systems.

Announcing construction of the new bridge, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted: “Ever seen a moving bridge? The Pamban Sea-Bridge that connects Rameshwaram with mainland India will soon have vertical lift span technology to allow the cross-navigation of vessels.” He also tagged an animation video of the bridge along with the tweet.

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104-year-old Pamban Bridge to be replaced

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