'Leh’s new Pratham-Shyok bridge is strategically important'

BRO To Upgrade 24 Bridges In Ladakh For Transportation Of Tanks, Heavy Artillery

Leh, Publish Date: Oct 5 2017 11:24PM | Updated Date: Oct 5 2017 11:24PM
'Leh’s new Pratham-Shyok bridge is strategically important'File Photo

The Pratham-Shyok bridge inaugurated by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Leh on Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Olde (D-S-DBO) axis on September 30 is the only route to reach the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and holds tremendous military significance.

Constructed by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) under Project Himank on Shyok River, the bridge at an altitude of 13000 feet on 255 km Darbuk-Shyok-Daula Beg Olde along the Shyok valley is the only axis to reach the Depsang La plains and connects Leh to Karakoram in North Eastern Ladakh.

An old suspension bridge constructed by Project Himank is still operational on the Shoyk river which has withstood all the vagaries since its construction.

Lt Gen S K Shrivastava, director general BRO, who was felicitated by the Defence Minister during her Leh visit, said the 60 meter double lane bridge can withstand any weather vagary in the cold desert.

“Knowing the uncertain flow of waters of Shyok river during bursting of glaciers, our engineers in difficult terrain and sub-zero temperature used their expertise to make it one of the best bridges in the world to withstand any eventuality,” said Lt Gen Shrivastava said. “In the past dozens of jawans of Project Himank lost their lives while crossing the river and during construction activities.”

He said that Project Himank under BRO will replace 24 small and large bridges by heavier ones for faster movement and transportation of heavier equipment like tanks and artillery in this sensitive sector.

Chief engineer Project Himank Brig DM Purvimath said that construction of bridges and roads at 15000 feet altitude with adverse climatic conditions in which machine efficiency reduces has always tested the nerves of the BRO personnel.

“Infrastructure development in this sector has always posed a big challenge as the Shoyk River changes its behavior in no time. Our engineers work meticulously with new technology for infrastructure development which is generally not applicable to other areas.”

He said that world’s highest and oldest motorable suspension bridge was also constructed by Project Himank on Shyok River and is an engineering marvel which withstood all odds and is motarable for decades now.

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