World’s Busiest Bridge
The Howrah Bridge is India’s biggest, world’s busiest, and longest single span and the third longest cantilever bridge in the world.
Like any other monument, the Howrah Bridge, originally named the New Howrah Bridge and later renamed as Rabindra Setu (named after Rabindranath Tagore a great poet and the first Indian Novel laureate) on 14th June 1965 has its own story to tell.
Floating bridge (Howrah Bridge) :
At the end of the 17th Century, the British traders founded Calcutta (Kolkata ) by merging three villages- Kalikata, Sutanuti and Gobindapur on one side of the river Hooghly. Howrah on the other side of the river grew up as a commercial and cultural centre later. To connect these towns situated on opposite banks of the river, Sir Bradford Leslie’s famous floating pontoon bridge came up in 1874.
The newly appointed Port Commissioners in 1871 were also appointed Bridge Commissioners and enjoined to take charge of the structure on completion. The Commissioners took over the management of the Howrah Bridge in February 1875.
The Rabindra Setu
Rabindra Setu is a suspension type balanced cantilever bridge with central span 1500 ft between centers of main towers. The anchor arms are 325 ft and the cantilever arms 468 ft long at both ends, which the middle suspended span is 564 ft. Main towers are 280 ft high above the monoliths and 76 ft apart at the top. Bridge deck width is 71 ft with two footpaths of 15 ft 6½ on either side.
The Kolkata port Trust through its Rabindra Setu division serving Kolkata and the nation by properly maintaining this bridge through continuous monitoring satisfying all the safety aspects, in addition to its normal Port activities. The Rabindra Setu Division too is determined to keep this structural marvel in active condition as long as possible.
Reproduced from "Special Issue on Kolkata Port Trust" published on 17.10.2004 by Exim India Shipping Times publication , Pg.83-88
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