‘Heritage meets technology’: Everything you need to know about the new Pamban bridge


‘Heritage meets technology’: Everything you need to know about the new Pamban bridge

The construction of the new Pamban Bridge, located in Km 655/000-657/200 at 27.35 m distance on the Northern side of the Pamban Channel, is coming to an end and will be operational soon. The bridge, which is expected to be operational in December 2023, will parallel the existing Pamban Bridge (No346) and have a total length of 2.078 Km. The estimated cost of the project, was Rs 279.6 crore, but it ended up costing around Rs 540 crore. Work on the bridge began in February 2020 and is being carried out round the clock from the Rameshwaram end.

One of the special features of the new Pamban Bridge is its 72 m long Vertical lift span. This allows the span to be lifted 17m to allow ships to pass beneath it. The vertical lift span will be built for a double track. In total, the bridge will have 100 spans across the sea, with 99 spans being 18.3 m and one span being 72.5 m. It will also be 3 m higher than the existing bridge.

A vertical lift bridge is a type of bridge that uses counterweights and cables to move an interior lift span section that remains horizontal as it is raised and lowered, similar to an elevator. This allows river traffic to pass beneath the structure. Some examples of vertical lift bridges include the Hawthorne Bridge in the US, the Ryde Bridge in Australia, and the Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas in France.

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The new Pamban Bridge, developed by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), will replace the old Pamban bridge, which was India’s first-ever sea bridge and opened in 1914. The old bridge connects Tamil Nadu with the Pamban or Rameswaram Island, and is one of the longest sea bridges in India. It was originally built by the British to strengthen trade relations with Sri Lanka.

The new bridge will facilitate the movement of ships across the railway bridge, and will be able to accommodate the passage of two ships simultaneously. The old Pamban bridge has long been an important link between mainland India and the Pamban Island, also known as the Rameshwaram Island. Today, Rameshwaram is a popular tourist and pilgrimage destination, home to the famous Rameshwaram Temple and one of the 12 Jyotirlingas.

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