The Bogibeel bridge is a Asia’s 2nd longest combined road and rail bridge over the Brahmaputra river in the northeastern Indian state of Assam between Dhemaji district and Dibrugarh district, which was started in the year 2002 and took a total of 200 months to complete the project as heavy rainfall in the region being the main cause for the slow progress.
Bogibeel river bridge is the longest rail-cum-road bridge in India measuring 4.94 kilometers over the Brahmaputra river.
As the Bogibeel bridge being situated in an earthquake-prone area, it is India’s first bridge to have fully welded steel-concrete support beams that can withstand earthquakes of magnitudes up to 7 Richter Scale. This is also Asia’s 2nd longest rail-cum-road bridge that has a serviceable period of around 120 years.
This is the 4th longest bridge in India after Bhupen Hazarika Setu, Mahatma Gandhi Setu, and Bandra-Worli Sea Link. The bridge and the train will be a boon for the people of Dhemaji as major hospitals, medical colleges and airport are in Dibrugarh, the third-largest city in the Northeast.
“Things have changed after May 2014 and topmost priority is being accorded to key projects. Delayed infra projects were adversely impacting India’s development trajectory,” PM Modi said after inaugurating the Bogibeel bridge.
The inauguration of the bridge coincided with the birth anniversary of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, under whose government the work for the bridge started in news2002.
The Bogibeel project was a part of the 1985 Assam Accord and was sanctioned in 1997-98. The foundation stone was laid by then prime minister HD Deve Gouda on January 22, 1997, but the commencement of work on the project was done by Vajpayee on April 21, 2002.
The importance of Bogibeel Bridge in Northeast India:
- The inauguration of the rail-cum-road Bogibeel Bridge across the Brahmaputra River in Assam is an important milestone in improving connectivity in northeast India.
- Connectivity through both rail and road in this region has lagged most other parts of India, partly on account of the terrain.
- With the completion of Bogibeel, the distance of the train journey between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh has been compressed by 80%. According to the government, five more connectivity projects are under construction, indicating that travel time in the region will continue to shorten.
- Enhanced connectivity in the Northeast will lead to two benefits. One, along with connectivity the level of economic activity is bound to increase.
- One reason why even fiscal concessions in these states failed to attract significant industrial investment is that they were not enough to offset the logistical costs of moving merchandise to high consumption regions. In this context, better connectivity provides a booster shot to economic activity, including tourism.
- The other important benefit is from a strategic standpoint.
- The region borders China and considering the history of confrontations with China, which claims Arunachal Pradesh, it’s essential that military personnel can be moved swiftly in the region.
- Bogibeel Bridge will vastly improve access to Arunachal Pradesh.
Cost of the Bogibeel Rail-Road Project:
The work on the project began in 2002 and was expected to be completed in seven years. But the bridge project experienced significant time and cost overruns before its construction gained momentum in July 2014.
The originally estimated cost of Rs16.7bn (approximately $312m) increased to Rs49.96bn ($810m) by March 2014.
An expenditure of ₹3,041 crores (US$420 million) was incurred on the project till March 2014, and a further outlay of ₹600 crores (US$83 million) was sanctioned for the year 2014-2015. On 2 December 2018, the bridge opened as the first freight train crossed it.
On December 25, 2018,Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Bogibeel bridge, on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and also flag off an intercity express connecting Tinsukia and Naharlagun.
The overall cost of the project ultimately escalated to ₹5,960 crores (US$830 million). The total length of the bridge also increased from 4.31 kilometers (2.68 million) to 4.94 kilometers (3.07 million).
Bogibeel bridge location:
The Bogibeel bridge, situated 17 km downstream of Dibrugarh and Dhemaji, spans the Brahmaputra river and will connect the town of Dibrugarh in the south to Dhemaji to the river’s north. The bridge is located just over 20 km away from the Assam- Arunachal Pradesh border and is thus expected to act as an alternative to the Kolia Bhomora Setu, Tezpur in providing connectivity to nearly five million people residing in Upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Due to its location, the bridge will be of strategic importance to India as it will significantly enhance India’s ability to transport troops and supplies to its border with Tibet in Arunachal Pradesh. Being located in an area of intense rainfall, construction has been significantly slowed down by the fact that construction largely takes place only during a period of four dry months between November and March.
The railroad bridge is the fourth being built on the river, the others being Pandu Saraighat, Kolia-Bjumuraguri and Naranarayan Setu at Jogighopa, all of them in Assam. The Bogibeel Bridge is the longest structure being built on the River Brahmaputra and will be the country’s fourth largest bridge.
The Bogibeel rail-road bridge is a double-deck bridge with a two-line railway track on the lower deck and a three-lane road on the upper. The road level will be 10.5m above the railway line.
The rail project comprises the laying of 74km of the railway line, including the rail links on the south and north banks of the river. The rail line will be linked to Chowalkhowa, which is 5.83km from Dibrugarh, on the south bank and between Sisi Borgaon and Sirpani on the north bank.
The road project includes construction of 29.45km of the road to be undertaken by the Assam Public Works Department (PWD). Approximately Rs 30.87bn ($576m) worth of works is being executed by the Northeast Frontier Railway while Rs 2.91bn ($54m) worth of works is being undertaken by Assam PWD.
Bogibeel Bridge design and construction:
The Bogibeel Bridge is a welded-steel-truss-and-reinforced-concrete structure. It spans 125m and has strong box-type built-in sections. The bridge is supported on good foundations and 42 piers. The project obtained approval of the federal Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in September 1997 and construction began in April 2002.
Major earthworks and strengthening of the north and south dykes were completed by June 2011. The project requires about 505 ha of land, which was acquired across 19 villages.
The design of Bogibeel bridge has 39 spans of 125 m and a superstructure of composite welded steel truss and reinforced concrete. It is designed to carry a double line 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge railway on the lower deck and a 2-lane road on the upper deck.
With its proximity to the China border, the bridge also has tremendous significance for India’s defense and has been built strong enough to support the movement of tanks and even fighter jet landings.
Companies involved in the Bogibeel rail-road bridge:
Following are the companies involved in the design & construction of the Bogibeel rail-road bridge,
- Rites (Rail India Technical and Engineering Services)
- Hindustan Construction Company (HCC)
- Gammon India
- Bhartia Infra Projects
- Essar steel
- Tata Steel
- DSD Brouckenbau
- VNR Infrastructures
The state-owned consultancy and project management enterprise Rites (Rail India Technical and Engineering Services) undertook the pre-construction studies, geotechnical investigations and detailed design of the railroad bridge. Top-Notch Engineers was involved in the design and drawings of the bridge.
The well foundations and substructure of the bridge are being constructed by Gammon India under a Rs3.44bn ($64.62m) contract.
Assam-based Bhartia Infra Projects supplied aggregates for the bridge under a Rs540m ($10m) sub-contract from Gammon India. Essar steel was contracted to supply 20,000t of steel for the bridge project.
Bhartia Infra constructed the guide bunds and approach embankments on the south bank of the bridge. A joint venture of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), Germany-based DSD Brouckenbau and VNR Infrastructures builds the superstructure of the bridge under a Rs9.87bn ($185m) contract awarded in November 2011.
Domestic steel giant Tata Steel said it has supplied 75 percent of the total rebars used in Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge “Tata Steel supplied 15kT of Tata Tiscon rebars for the construction of the country’s only bridge that has fully welded steel-concrete composite girders. Out of the total rebars used in building this engineering wonder, 75 percent of rebar steel has been supplied by Tata Steel,” the company said in a statement.