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New span on Pamban bridge to be installed in June (thehindu)

The century-old Scherzer’s span, designed and installed at Pamban rail bridge by a German engineer to allow vessels to pass through the channel, would be replaced by an ultra modern vertically lifting single-truss span, to be designed and fabricated by an international firm, M. Suyambulingam, Chief Engineer (Bridges), Southern Railway, said.

Unveiling the likely model of the span, presently used in a bridge connecting a road and a canal in France, after inspecting the bridge here on Tuesday, he said Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), chosen by Indian Railways to execute the project, floated global tenders a few months ago and it was likely to finalise a firm by the month-end.

Six international firms had expressed interest to design and install the span at a cost of Rs. 40 crore, he said, adding the new span could be operated by remote control by the staff sitting in the bridge office at Pamban. Though the railways initially contemplated making the span using aluminium alloy, it had now decided to use High-Strength Steel (HSS), he said.


A firm had offered to assemble and fabricate the span at Pamban and install it on the bridge. “After the summer crowd is over, the new span will be installed by June-end, and the installation would take just 15 days,” Mr. Suyambulingam told The Hindu .

Before installing the span, the firm would carry out Wind Tunnel Test (WTT) to ensure that trains passed through the bridge even when the wind velocity was 75 km per hour. Presently, the threshold velocity limit was 58 km per hour, and when the wind velocity exceeded the limit, the anemometer at both ends of the bridge would turn the signal red and stop trains.

“After installation of the new span, there would be hardly any disruption of train services on the bridge,” he said, adding the speed of the trains on the bridge could also be enhanced from 15 km per hour to 50 km per hour. The span would be given high polymer coating and cathodic protection to control corrosion, he said.

The CCTV camera-fitted span could be lifted in just two minutes by a press of a button and lowered in a minute in the sensor-based operation. It could also be operated by hydraulic system and both the systems could be operated by remote control, he added.

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