At last, Kota’s iconic hanging bridge is open for commuters. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the bridge on August 29, 2017, through video conferencing from Udaipur. Before it was opened though , there was a trial run by opening it for commuters. This is India’s third hanging bridge and Rajasthan’s first. The bridge is cable-stayed and has a single plain suspension.
The foundation of this project was laid around 11 years back in 2006. A deadline of 40 months was given for the construction of this span. Nevertheless, the work got delayed because of environmental and wildlife clearances. The issues were resolved with some effort and work finally commenced in 2007. As per the schedule, the bridge should have been opened in November 2012. Nevertheless, the work got delayed and it was eventually opened in August this year.
As Narendra Modi inaugurated the bridge, he told the nation, “The project has been pending for 11 years. It should have been completed within one to one-and-a-half years. After the formation of our government in 2014, we restarted work and now the cable-stayed bridge is being dedicated to the nation today.” Big LED screens were set up on the bridge for the inauguration ceremony, and Modi’s speech was shown on these screens.
Several people gathered attended the ceremony. Om Birla (an MP from Kota), Sandeep Sharma (an MLA from Kota south) and many other influential leaders from Rajasthan were also present at the function.
This iconic bridge had a budget of ₹277.67 crores, and was sponsored by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The construction of the bridge has been managed by Hyundai Engineering of South Korea.
The bridge crosses the Chambal river, running just outside the urban centre. The 1.4 kilometre-long bridge stands 60 metres above Chambal’s surface. It is 30 metres in width and has a peak height of 125 metres. It has a lateral span of 175 meters and a main span of 350.5 metres. This is the longest main span of a bridge in the country.
Speaking about the same at the inauguration ceremony, Birla said, “With its longest ‘main span’ of 350 metre, among the five cable stayed bridges in the country, this bridge today became an iconic structure like the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai and the Howrah Bridge in Kolkata.” He further added that it will serve the role of a ‘bypass’ for commuters. It will also assist in bringing down the frequency of accidents in Kota.
Indeed, the bridge has eased commuting for travellers. The bridge completes the country’s East-West Corridor, which is India’s second-longest highway connecting seven states from Silchar in Assam to Porbandar in Gujarat. It has facilitated transportation from Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer, Bikaner and Udaipur to Indore, Bhopal, and Gwalior by way of Jhalawar. “This bridge will cut down commuting time by 60 minutes through National Highway no 27 (Kota-Chittor National Highway) and National Highway no. 12 (Kota-Jhalawar NH). Earlier, commuters had to slip away through traffic in Kota City but now they can bypass Kota City within 15 minutes,” shares MK Jain, regional officer, NHAI, Rajasthan.
The Kota Chambal Bridge or the Kota Cable Bridge, with its remarkable span, is indeed an engineering wonder!