After a long 21-years of wait, Assam’s Bogibeel Bridge spread across river Brahmaputra and is the longest rail-cum-road bridge in India will be inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi today.
The first proposal for construction of the 4.94 km Bogibeel, the fourth bridge across river Brahmaputra was put up in 1977, during the time of former PM Morarji Desai. But after a wait of two long decades in the Parliament, the budget 4.93 km-long bridge that was mistaken to be a “small bridge” was passed in 1996 and the foundation stone was laid on January 22, 1997 with a budget of Rs 1767 crores. Fast forwarding 21 years of delays, controversies and protests from local businesses who had to shift their business for their livelihood, India’s longest rail-road link Bogibeel Bridge will be inaugurated today.
The bridge connects two banks of the mighty Brahmaputra River with two railway lines on the lower deck and three-lane road on the upper deck that is strong enough to withstand movement of heavy military tanks and trucks too. The bridge will not only cut down the train travel distance between Delhi to Dibrugarh by three hours, but it will also save three to four hours of travel time for the Indian Army convoys that are approaching their posts along the 4000-km long border Arunachal-China frontier; and will also boost the economic development of the region.
Bogibeel is also India’s first and only fully-welded bridge with European codes and welding standards being followed, and matches the quality of bridges in Sweden and Denmark. It also happens to be Asia’s second largest rail-road connector that is built using 30 lakh bags of cement – enough to fill than 41 Olympics pools and about 19,250 kilometres of steel which is twice the height of Everest. The construction cost of this mega engineering marvel was boosted up by almost thrice compared to its initial budget to Rs 5900 crore by the Indian Railways, but it will need no maintenance for next 120 years.