Pamban bridge

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Pamban bridge connects the town of Rameshwaram on Pamban island to the mainland India. This sea bridge is built over Palk strait near the southernmost part of India. It serves as a much needed connectivity to the pilgrim city of Rameshwaram. Here are few vital stats of the bridge:

Length: 2050 m

Opened: 1914

Cost of construction: Rs.7 million

Bridge type: Cantilever

To increase trade between India and Ceylon (present day Sri lanka) the British identified th need for a railway bridge on the Palk strait in 19th century. The construction ran into trouble as a railway bridge would obstruct the passage of ferries in Palk strait. In order to allow the ferries to pass beneath the bridge, a double-leaf bascule section was indeed. This section can be raised to allow the ships pass beneath it. Around 10-15 ships pass beneath the bridge every month. Until recently, levers were used manually to raise and lower the bascule section. Since its inception,the bridge carried meter gauge trains. In 2007, the Indian Railways upgraded it to broad gauge. Pamban bridge successfully withstood the onslaught of severe natural calamities like they cyclone in 1964 which destroyed the island of Dhanushkodi and 2004 tsunami. Various islands of the Gulf of Mannar can be seen from the bridge.

Pamban bridge opening to allow ships to ferry
Pamban bridge opening to allow ships to ferry

Considering that a movable bridge was built way back in 1914 in India when sophisticated methods were not available, Pamban bridge is a true marvel of structural engineering.

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Millau Viaduct

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Millau Viaduct is a cable-stayed bridge over river Tarn near Millau in France. It is a part of the A75-A71 highway from Paris to Beziers and Montpellier. Here are a few vital stats of the bridge:

Length: 2500 m

Width: 32.05 m

Clearance below: 270 m

Max height above ground: 342 m

Number of spans: 6

Length of maximum span: 340 m

Opened: 2004

Cost of construction: 400 million euros

Millau viaduct has a mast height of 340 m above its base. It is tallest bridge in the world. Its height is more than the than Eiffel tower (324 m), making it the tallest structure in France. Because of the construction of the bridge, travel time from France to Spain has reduced considerably.

Cable-stayed bridges are built when the length to be spanned is very big. With 6 spans each of average length 340m, Millau viaduct is indeed a marvel of structural engineering.

Millau viaduct at dusk
Millau viaduct at dusk