Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Sukkur Bridge: With Proud Past and Important Present

The Sukkur Bridge was better known as the Lansdowne Bridge, after the Viceroy of India at the time. When it opened in 1889 it was the longest cantilever-supported bridge in the world. It replaced the cumbersome system of using ferries to carry railway cars across the Indus River in use until then. The bridge still stands and is used today, although railway traffic flows across a newer bridge constructed next to it in the 1960s.

The Sukkur Bridge over Indus River, also known Lansdowne Bridge was inaugurated on March 25, 1889. It is the longest single span cantilever bridge of its kind.

Since the technique of diverting river waters could not be applied to the mighty Indus and constructing piers in water by using cofferdams was not developed yet, the engineers had no choice but to support the structure by cantilevering from the shores. Two identical impressive structures, one on each side of the river, with multiple vertical and cross trusses were anchored into massive footings on the shores and then tied to the back anchors.

Finally sections of the bridge deck, extended one third of the way at each shore and reaching out to the other side, were placed. The middle piece, which consisted of simple trusses also used in other bridges in Punjab, was finally placed to connect the two cantilevered sides. This last central piece of the bridge not only connected the two sides of the river, it also connected Baluchistan with the down country. The mastery of the Briton over South Asia was complete.

Watch and enjoy the video below:

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