Work begins on new Pamban rail bridge connecting Rameswaram

Work on a new Pamban rail bridge over the sea connecting this holy island to the mainland in Tamil Nadu got off to a start on Friday, officials said.

A 'bhoomi pooja' (ground breaking ceremony) was performed to mark the inauguration of the construction work on the bridge to be built by the Railway Vikas Nigam Limited, a publlic sector unit.

The foundation stone for the 2.05 km-long bridge was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kanyakumari in March this year when he dedicated several highway and railway projects.

The new bridge would help the railways operate trains at higher speed, carry more weight and increase the volume of traffic between the mainland Pamban and Rameswaram, thronged by devotees from across the country, officials said adding the work would be completed in two years.

The Southern Railways operates trains from Rameswaram to various parts of the country.

Arrangements have been made to carry on the construction work even during the rainyseason, an official said. All equipment required for the work have been brought to nearby Pamban.

The new bridge would have 101 piers with a vertical lift facility to open and close the middle portion to allow passage of ships and steamers.

The Scherzer span in the existing bridge is operated manually to allow ships while the proposed facility would have electro-mechanical controlled systems which will be interlocked with train control systems, officials have said earlier.