Monday, January 18, 2021

Table of Contents for Project Focus

Interview-Ajit Pandit (IRSE-Northeast Frontier Railway

The Bogibeel Bridge will be a maintenance free and aesthetically pleasing structure in India

Headquartered at Guwahati in Assam, the Northeast Frontier Railway, is responsible for rail operations for the entire Northeast and parts of West Bengal and Bihar. An important rail zone in India, NFR is currently executing the construction of India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge. AJIT PANDIT, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER (CON), INDIAN RAILWAYS SERVICE OF ENGINEERS (IRSE)  NORTHEAST FRONTIER RAILWAY responded to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES ‘queries on the project’s unique features and its recent status of implementation.



Could you share important details leading to the execution of the Bogibeel rail-cum-road Bridge and tell us of the role played by the Northeast Frontier Railways in it?

The Bogibeel rail-cum-road project was incorporated in the Assam Accord and approved by the Planning Commission of India in 1985. The project first got sanctioned in 1985, and then later got approved  under the 1997-98 Budget. Following this, feasibility studies were taken up in association with RITES.  The project was declared a National Project in July 2007. All works related to the planning, design, execution etc of the Bogibeel bridge is being carried out by Northeast Frontier Railway. The Northeast Frontier Railways later awarded the work on the project’s sub-structure to Gammon in 2008 and super-structure to the HCC-DSD-VNR consortium.



Tell us of the importance and unique features of this project. What are the benefits likely to accrue to the northeast region after its completion?

The Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge over the river Brahmaputra is situated 17 km downstream of Dibrugarh city in Assam. It is being constructed for Double Line BG Track and three lane road. This bridge will be the lifeline of North eastern parts of our country. It will facilitate effective connectivity between the North and South banks of the river Brahmaputra in the eastern region of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. National security of the eastern region of India will also be further strengthened after commissioning of the bridge. The bridge will also shorten and open an alternate railway route via North bank to Dibrugarh (155km short ex Rangia). The Government of India has also given utmost importance to the project by declaring it a National Project. On completion the bridge will be the longest rail-cum-road bridge in India having a total length of 4.94 km.  Furthermore, the superstructure of the project is a composite welded steel truss. Weight of the composite welded steel truss girder is about 20 per cent less thawn conventional Riveted girder. The superstructure/substructure of the project is also more economical as against the conventional girders.  The Bogibeel bridge will be a maintenance free and aesthetically pleasing first-of-its-kind structure in India. Apart from these, the project will also accelerate the socio-economic development of upper Assam and eastern parts of Arunachal Pradesh.



Tell us about the progress made in terms of project implementation and current status of the project?

Phase-I of the project which includes BG Single line South Rail link from Chalkhowa –Moranhat (44 Km) via DMGN-44 km has already been commissioned in 2009-10. Phase-II of the work - Main Bridge with rail link between DMGN (S/bank) and Newsibargaon (N/bank) of Rangia-Murukongsleek section including National Highway is planned for completion in June, 2017. The other key achievements attained so far are the commissioning of DBRG station with 4 platforms, 2 FOBs and other passenger amenities; Coaching Maintenance complex with 2 Pit lines and Sick lines; construction of North Guide Bund (2.792 km) and South Guide Bund (2.043 km); launching of ten girder train on July 25, 2015 for the superstructure works, and strengthening and raising of South Bank Dyke and North Bank Dyke (9 km upstream and 7 km downstream). All major and minor bridges on the North Bank Rail Link and embankment are now fully complete. Work on the sub-structure is at 97 per cent.


Please speak about the specific role infrastructure majors like HCC, Germany based DSD Brouckenbau and VNR infrastructure have played in this project and what is the value each has brought to the  table?

The contract of superstructure work has been awarded to HCC-DSD-VNR consortium at the initial cost of Rs.987.19 crore. The execution of the work is being carried out jointly by HCC, VNR and DSD. Two fabrication sheds have already been commissioned and work is in progress at full swing.  The installed capacity for fabrication of the 2 sheds is about 2500 MT per month. There are 2 bays in each fab shed and 14 EOT cranes are installed for handling of materials and girder components. Two lay-down assembly sheds (130 m each) and two vertical assembly shed (300m) set up for assembly and erection of the girders on approach bank is already in place. Furthermore, two 80 MT gantry cranes and four 40 MT have been installed for the assembly work. Segmental Quality Plans (SQP) for fabrication, welding plan, corrosion protection system, ndt procedure and assembly/erection has been approved for ensuring quality of fabrication. The scheme envisages the launching of girders spans by cantilever method which  consists of 10 spans from South bank with launching nose in front and tail at rear. Launching scheme and methodology has been approved by the Railways. SQP for launching is approved by Railway, RITES and Ramboll.



Please elaborate on the best practices, building materials, construction equipment and technologies that have been utilised in the construction of the project?

The super-structure of the Bogibeel Bridge is a composite welded truss having a span of 1x32.6m + 39x125m + 1x32.75m with 2 BG tracks on the lower deck and 3 lane road on the top deck. The girder is having steel floor system for Railway and composite with concrete for road deck i.e. welded steel truss composite with concrete deck for road. This type of super-structure is being constructed for the first time on the Indian Railways. The design of the composite welded truss has been done by Ramboll, Denmark through RITES Ltd and the proof-checking has been done by Anwikar Consultant, Germany. The project’s super-structure is worth approximately Rs.1300 crore. The latest technology has been adopted for the superstructure. Welded triangulated truss with welded connections and composite structure for road deck again is for the first time in India. It is a fully welded girder and various European codes are being followed for execution and quality control.



Tell us about the technical and financial challenges associated with this project?

Like any mega infrastructure project, the construction of the Bogibeel bridge also had to face few technical glitches. Few of critical hurdles faced were to restrict the river width to 4.94 km from 10.3 km; prolonged monsoons from April to October due to which the working period was reduced to about five months, i.e. from November to March; the braided nature of the river – frequent changes in the river course of channels; multiple floods – several times within a season; and location at Zone-V seismic region – due to which heaving and subsistence was faced during the 1950 earthquakes. Also, the well foundation works inside the river had to face severe uncertainty of channels and flash floods.


On the financial side, the project faced fund constraints after its sanctioning in 1997. From 1997 to 2002 only Rs.14.02 crore was allotted and from 2002-07 only Rs.686 crore was further allotted. The situation was improved after it acquired status of importance as National Project. Since then, the flow funds has increased and has expedited the construction works as well.



The Government recently announced that the project will take off by March 2017. How accurate is that project completion deadline – the assessment in the light of the several delays taken place already?

The project is planned to be commissioned in June 2017. The earlier delays were primarily due to some technical and financial crunches. The length of the bridge was increased in between from 36 spans to 41 spans due to the change in river course and flash floods. Also, the availability of land for the project got delayed and complete land was made available only in 2011. Moreover, financial crunches were faced by the project in its initial phases as average grant per year during 1997-2002 was only Rs.2.8 crore, Rs.137.29 crore in 2002-07 and Rs.330.7 crore in 2007-12.



Has the project derived any inspiration from any international project in terms of design, structural outlook etc?

The bridge’s design has derived its inspiration from Oresund Bridge which is between Sweden and Denmark. The design and consultancy work was given to the same agency Ramboll who has designed the Oresund Bridge.

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