Bridges, used to cross water, roads and mountains, have been existent since time immemorial. Initially made of maybe stones put together, or a log of wood, bridges have now come a long way. Bridges are constructed differently depending on their utility. These ingenious creations have the capability to look spectacular, apart from merely serving their purpose. India is one of the most populated countries in the world, pursuing myriad professions. Hence, it is but natural that bridges are a common occurrence in the country. Some of these bridges are famous all across the globe. Most of them are the finest examples of engineering brilliance, ranging from truss bridges to cable-stayed ones to suspensions to cantilevers. Irrespective of what kind they are, or what purpose they serve, these bridges in India have become symbols or rather landmarks of the place where they have been built. They are popular works of art, apart from being a catalyst for practicality and viability. Transportation, and hence trade and commerce, and economy would not have been what they are today, if it hadn’t been for these magnificent creations. These are the 10 most outstanding road & railway bridges in India.
1. Mahatma Gandhi Setu
One of the longest bridges in India, the Mahatma Gandhi Setu was built in 1982. This bridge measures about 5575 meters, and is the link between the cities of Patna and Hajipur in Bihar. The bridge is also known as Ganga Setu, since the holy river flows underneath it. It is one of the longest single river bridges present in the world, and is considered to be the lifeline of the north and south Bihar.
2. Rabindra Setu (The Rabindra Setu)
Standing tall over West Bengal’s Hooghly River, the Rabindra Setu, famously called the Howrah Bridge, was constructed in 1943. A symbol of pride for the city of Kolkata, the cantilever-style Rabindra Setu has a length of 705-meters and it connects the metropolitan to its twin city, Howrah. This suspended cantilever bridge was constructed by the Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company, and named after Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The bridge, which contains steel measuring over 26, 500 tons, is the busiest bridge of its kind, in the world.
3. Rajiv Gandhi Setu
The Rajiv Gandhi Setu, more popularly referred to as the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL), has proven to be a boon for the population of Mumbai. A route that would usually take a long one and a half hours on a day with busy traffic, the bridge ensures that commuters reach their destination at least an hour earlier. One of the most beautiful bridges in India, the BWSL connects Bandra to Worli, and on an average day has approximately 375000 vehicles crossing it.
4. Vidyasagar Setu
This is the second bridge located on Bengal’s Hooghly River that was built in 1943. The Vidyasagar Setu is also known as the Second Hooghly Bridge, and is 823-meters long. With an approximate budget of 3.8 billion rupees, the bridge is the result of collaboration between the government and private organizations. This cable-stayed bridge, which is the longest of its kind in India, is at a height of about 127.62 meters. The Vidyasagar Setu, which has been constructed using steel weighing 13,200 tons, is used as a toll bridge.
5. Brahmaputra Bridge
Located at Saraighat in Assam, this is the earliest bridge ever built in the state over the magnificent Brahmaputra River. The Brahmaputra bridge doubles up as one meant for both vehicles and trains. Also called the Saraighat Bridge, it was inaugurated in 1962 by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Though initially meant only for transporting goods, by the following year, it was open to other commuters.
6. Jadukata Bridge
The Jadukata Bridge in Meghalaya is considered by many as one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. This cantilever bridge stretches for 140-meters, hanging above the spectacular Kynshi River. This bridge has been constructed by Mumbai-based Company Gamon India Limited, on a budget of 10-crores. This gorgeous bridge, on the Mawsynram Balat Maheshkhola Road, near the Indo-Bangladesh border, has been presented with the ICI MC Bauchemie Award for Outstanding Concrete Structures.
7. Kaliabhomora Setu
Another gem from Assam, the Kaliabhomora Setu is the second bridge on the Brahmaputra River, meant only for road transport. Located near Tezpur, the bridge that took almost six years to construct, stretches for a distance of 3015-meters, and forms the link between Sonitpur and the district of Nagaon.
8. Godavari Bridge
This truss bridge, constructed by the Braithwaite, Burn & Jessop Construction Company, over the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh, is the second longest road and rail bridge in Asia that stretches across a river. The Godavari Bridge is also famous by its other name, Kovvur-Rajahmundry Bridge, and is constructed on the same lines as the Grafton Bridge of New South Wales. There are two other bridges in the same area, the Havelock Bridge that was constructed in the beginning, and the Godavari Arch Bridge, which is the most recent.
9. Dudhsagar Rail Bridge
The Dudhsagar Bridge located on the Dudhsagar Falls in Goa might not be that famous around the world, but this rail bridge provides one of the most spectacular scenic views while you are travelling in a train.
10. Bailey Bridge, Ladakh
Constructed by personnel of the Indian Defense Forces, the Bailey bridge in Ladakh is the highest in the world. Set in the beautiful hilly area of Jammu and Kashmir, the bridge has been constructed at an elevated height of 5,602-meters from sea level. Built in the year 1982, the bridge, lying between the Suru and the Dras Rivers, offers an eye-catching sight of the majestic Himalayas.