Prayagraj: A number of pontoon bridges have been installed at the Kumbh Mela 2019 to help devotees reach from one point to another by simply walking the entire way. While this is not the first time that such bridges have been put for crossing River Ganga, the scale of Kumbh Mela this year has highlighted its practicality with many devotees raving about these bridges.
Pontoon bridges are basically floating bridges which are installed over water bodies by using floats. While they are essentially temporary in nature and have been used in the past during emergency purposes, pontoon bridges provide a deck for pedestrian movement - increasing convenience and mobility while bringing down the need for a more concrete bridge setup which are usually more expensive and requires more time to be constructed.
A number of materials - including steel, concrete, boats, barrels and plastic floats - may be used in the construction of pontoon bridges. These are mostly not movable unless being completely uprooted. Some designs, however, do allow for a portion to make way if required. This is mostly seen in areas where pontoon bridges are placed in busy waterways.
While pontoon bridges mostly cater to pedestrians, these can be reinforced to bear the weight of large vehicles as well. This was seen during World War II when the US, Britain and USSR actively constructed these to get their troops and equipment across European rivers and water channels.