Basohli (J&K): North India's first cable-stayed bridge--the fourth of its kind in the country--that will provide close connectivity among the three states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab was on Thursday thrown open to traffic.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated the bridge on river Ravi named 'Atal Setu' at Basholi situated on Dunera-Basohli-Bhadharwah road in J and K's Kathua district and dedicated it to the nation. Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh and Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag were also present.
Described as an engineering marvel in this part of the country, The Basohli bridge is the fourth of its kind in India. The other three cable-stayed bridges are--Hooghly bridge at Kolkata, Naini bridge in Allahabad and Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link in Mumbai, officials said.
The bridge is strategically important from the defence point of view as well.
With the bridge thrown open, connectivity and tourism among the three states are expected to improve.
The work on the maiden cable-stay bridge in J and K started in September 2011 on the demand of people of Basohli where over 22 villages were submerged in water and evacuated to other places after the construction of Ranjit Sagar dam.
The 592-metre span bridge was constructed by Border Roads Organization (BRO) at a cost of Rs 145 crore. It is a joint venture of Indian Railway Construction Company Limited (IRCON) and SP Singla Construction group.
Out of 592 metre span bridge, 350 metres is cable-stayed while rest is plain bridge.
"A typical cable-stayed bridge is a deck with one or two pylons erected above the piers in the middle of the span," officials said, adding, "The cables are attached diagonally to the girder to provide additional supports."
"The pylons form the primary load-bearing structure in these types of bridges. Large amounts of compression forces are transferred from the deck to the cables to the pylons and into the foundation," they said.
The officials said these bridges have a low centre of gravity which makes them efficient in resisting earthquakes.
"Cable-stayed bridges provide outstanding architectural appearance due to their small diameter cables and unique overhead structure," they added.
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi set into motion the bridge's construction by laying the foundation in May 2011.