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Friday, February 25, 2011

Kerala backwaters home to longest rail bridge

It Eclipses Dehrion-Sone’s Record In The Country

Mahendra Kumar Singh | TNN

New Delhi: The scenic Kerala backwaters can now boast of an engineering marvel — the 4.62 kilometre rail bridge — the longest in the country. The bridge is part of an 8.6-km railway link connecting Idapalli to Vallarpadam in Kochi, where the shipping ministry has constructed the International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT).
Built by the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) at Rs 200 crore, the bridge came up in a record 28 months.
The new bridge eclipses Dehrion-Sone’s record as the longest rail bridge in the country. The three-kmlong bridge on the Sone River was constructed by the East India Railway in 1900.
The rail link between Idapalli railway station and ICTT can also boast green technology to address environmental concerns. The alignment cuts through densely populated habitations and backwaters. “We used minimum cement to reduce greenhouse effect,” said a rail official.
Land acquisition being a sensitive issue in Kerala, RVNL took an elevated route a 40m-long girder erected at a curve of 2.5 degrees to cut down on land use in densely pop
ulated areas and also go across the backwaters. “This led to the conceptualisation of a 4.62km elevated structure,” RVNL managing director Satish Agnihotri told TOI.
The land was acquired in densely populated areas, thanks to an outof-box solution.
The compensation package did not pinch the displaced. Current market price of houses — without any depreciation of the properties — was offered.
Also, a plot of similar size was allotted to the displaced in an equally or better developed area. Each family was paid rent for six months
till the new house came up.
The project, which will serve as the first SEZ port in the country, will eliminate transhipment of goods from Colombo port to Indian ports. Mega mother ships and Panamax vessels can directly reach Vallarpadam.
It will also save the cost of transportation by $300 per container, making export and import cheaper.
“The work had to be completed fast as the rail connectivity to the container terminal was a timebound exercise being monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office,” an official said.


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