HOWRAH BRIDGE. Kolkata’s pride ..India’s Glory!

Howrah Bridge, The Marvelous Civil Work in Kolkata

Path breaking technology
Steely Ensemble
Testimony against Time
Floodgate of opportunities &
A gateway connecting lives!

Is ALL that is needed to describe the Iconic Howrah Bridge which is one of its kind in the whole world withstanding the trial of Time and Tide not with standing some 3 lakhs vehicles and 4.5 lakhs pedestrians traversing it’s bosom every day!

Story of its History … A brief counter with Time.

It all began in the year 1862, when a need was felt to bridge the Hooghly River for a free flow of traffic across it. In came George Turnbull Chief engineer, East Indian railway Company and under his craftsmanship and
the Aegis of Government of Bengal, a bridge was built. But that was just a tip of the iceberg! In view of the escalading traffic, a better version of the bridge was the need of the hour! So when Calcutta port trust was set up in 1870, and the Legislative Dept. of the then Government of Bengal passed the Howrah bridge Act in the year1871, it gave Sir Bradford Leslie the green signal to construct a pontoon bridge. And soon! A Pontoon Bridge was erected!
Continuous improvisation of the bridge’s strength and functionality brought us to the year 1906 when The Kolkata Port Commission set up Committees to filter the best design, feasibility and costings suitable for constructing a New Bridge. Subsequently, a committee of Engineers called The Mukherjee Committee was formed, headed by Mr. R.N. Mukherjee who submitted its report on the How and Why of constructing a Brand New
Bridge and The New Howrah Bridge Act was passed in the year 1926 which got subsequently amended in the year 1935. The Bridge was to be henceforth named as The New Howrah bridge.

And after a brief search to hire the best construction Company to this effect, it was The Braithwaite, Burn & Jessop Construction Co. who walked away with the Contract of constructing the World’s 6th Largest Cantilever Bridge
connecting Howrah with Kolkata!

It’s Engineering Marvel!
The Mechanics and Technology of it….
It is the oldest hanging bridge in the world with no supporting pillar helping its suspension over the Hooghly River, hence called Cantilever. Not a single nut and bolt has been used for its construction. Instead, a rivet system pulls across the entire structure. It has a span of 457m and total length is 705 meters flanked with 4.5 m wide pavements either side. On any given day the bridge testifies 1lakh 50 thousand vehicles and nearly 1 lakh pedestrians passing through it, speaks volumes of the power it exudes! The bridge was renamed as Rabindra Setu in the year 1965 after the Great Bengali Poet and Noble Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. But it stuck to its more popular Howrah Bridge honorific

Initially the bridge was periodically unfastened to allow steamers, boats or ships to pass through it unobstructed but could not do so for long as against the heavy traffic passing through it.

Its complete construction took about 4 years including the brunt it bore through the war ravaged times of World War I&II, costing a whooping 25 million INR funded by the then British Government of India! On being commissioned for public use since 3rd Feb 1943, the Grand old Lady this year, is celebrating 77th year of its existence , proclaiming its supremacy over the Hooghly river, proving its tenacity, grit and
perseverance yet again!

Wow! What a Feather to India’s Cap! A Truly glorious Moment !

Its Charisma and Connection with peoples’ life & Heart From a simple pontoon bridge it has come a long way !….serving as the gateway, linking numerous lives and industries at work and play,
taking people places, adding colors & glitterati into their lives, at the same time, opening floodgates of opportunities, reducing the socio economic divide, building relationships and India’s Economy too! So at the end I would like to say that the Howrah bridge is not just a bridge,
bridging gaps………
It echoes the sentiments of people. It reflects the Ethos and Way of life especially for the people of West Bengal!
We join together to Pay our obeisance to this Historic Icon and Heroic endeavor of Mankind in connecting lives and bringing people closer than
ever before!

Penned by: Mrs Reema Tarafdar

Reema Tarafdar

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