Bogibeel Bridge : India’s Longest Rail Road Bridge in Assam

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After 16 years of being in construction the Bogibeel Bridge in Assam, the longest rail road bridge was is now open to the public. The bridge was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The Bogibeel Bridge is a railway – cum – Road Bridge set up across the majestic Brahmaputra River in Assam. The construction of the bridge started in 2002 and was completed in 2018. The inauguration of the bridge paid homage to the former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee and was opened to the public on December 25, 2018.

The bridge is 4.94 km long with a double-decker structure. The upper deck houses 3 lane roadways, while the lower lane consists of 2 broad gauge railway lines.

This bridge will mark the beginning of a new rail-road travel avenue that will offer all weather connectivity between the North and South banks of the river in Eastern Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

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The bridge servers as an easy line transport for not only the common men of Assam, but also for the Indian army troops as the border shared with China lies in very close proximity. While the construction of this complex structure took very long to be completed, it was definitely worth the wait for travel enthusiasts in India.

A drive along this almost 5 km long stretch over the vast Brahmaputra River not only offers amazing thrill to the travelers but also shares picturesque panoramic views all around, making for some great photography moments. The bridge will make travel between Assam and Arunachal a much simpler and pocket-friendly affair and also cut down the time taken for the journey significantly shorter.

The bridge will make travel between Assam and Arunachal a much simpler and pocket-friendly affair and also cut down the time taken for the journey significantly shorter.

The foundation stone for the Bogibeel Bridge was laid down by the former Prime Minister HD Deve Gouda, on January 22, 1997. Here are some other interesting facts about the Bogibeel Bridge in Assam, the longest rail-road bridge in the country:

  • The bridge is set up 17 km downstream of the Brahmaputra River, close to the Dhemaji and Diburgarh districts. The bridge connects Diburgarh in Assam with Pasighat in Arunachal.
  • The bridge offers strategic advantages to the Indian army as it will drastically improve defense logistics to areas near the Indo-China border. The movement of troops and weapons will now be much easier due to bridge construction.
  • Before the bridge was constructed the rail journey from Assam to Arunachal had a long 500 km detour via Guwahati. However, with the Bogibeel Bridge, the railways of the south and north bank have been directly connected between the Dhamalgaon and Tangani districts. This will save around 100 km of journey. Subsequently, train journey from Delhi to Diburgarh will also come down by about 3 hours from the earlier 37 hours to 34 hours due to the bridge.
  • Two new intercity trains are being introduced due to the construction of the bridge that will link the Tinsukia and Naharlagun districts. One of the trains is scheduled to run 5 days a week, the other one will run once a week. Daily train connectivity with increased number of options will benefit the people of Arunachal and those residing on the northern banks of Assam.
  • The bridge in its own is a specimen of engineering marvel, truly one of its kinds, built from complete welding at a height of 32 meters above water level.  
  • Bogibeel Bridge is constructed with technology from Sweden and Denmark that helped to create a structure that is much lighter in comparison to the bridges with riveted girders that are usually used.
  • The life span of the bridge is known to be 120 years and it is the second largest in Asia, in its category of rail-cum-road bridges. The national highway road link around the bridge consists of 11.25 km at the south bank, 13.26 km on the north bank and as mentioned above 4.94 km atop the bridge.
  • The total cost of the project is estimated to be around INR 5920 crores, the bridge itself costs roughly 3000 crores.
  • The construction was done in phases by constricting the Brahmaputra River with guide bunds and high embankments. The construction of piers and guide bunds were extremely difficult and posed to be challenging for the railway engineers as the construction work could only be carried out in a season basis, for few months a year.

While the foundation stone for the construction of the bridge was laid down in 1997, but actual work started much later in 2002. It began after the inauguration by former PM AB Vajpayee.

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 Since, then the project has moved on a slow pace due to the challenging construction work. Understanding the value of the bridge as a strategic advantage the government in 2007, declared in as a National Project, thereby ensuring the bridge construction receives adequate funding for fast completion.

The bridge does fall on a Seismic Zone V which is considered most vulnerable to earthquakes. To offer protection, the bridge has been provided with seismic restrainers around the heavy spans that are 1700 MT.

Apart from benefitting the army and travelers, the locals especially students and patients will also reap huge benefits from the Bogibeel Bridge. As previously they had to cross the river in a boat, but with construction of the bridge connectivity to the Diburgarh University and Assam Medical College will be much better.

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So, if engineering marvels coupled with great scenic beauty, all nestled amidst majestic Himalayan Valleys titillates you with excitement. Then set out on a journey across the largest rail-road bridge in India, and don’t forget to bring a camera for some amazing pictures!  

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