Howrah Bridge: Kolkata, the cultural capital of India, is famous for its rich history, vibrant culture, and magnificent architecture. One of the most recognizable landmarks of the city is the Howrah Bridge, an engineering marvel that has become an icon of Kolkata. In this article, we will delve into the history and engineering behind the construction of the Bridge.
History of Howrah Bridge:
The Bridge, also known as Rabindra Setu, is a suspension bridge that spans over the Hooghly River in Kolkata, connecting the city of Howrah to Kolkata. The bridge was built in 1943, replacing the old pontoon bridge that had been in use since the early 1900s.
The construction of the Bridge was a challenging task, given the strong tidal currents of the Hooghly River, which flows into the Bay of Bengal. The design of the bridge was based on the famous Forth Bridge in Scotland, which was built in the late 1800s and was the first major steel bridge in the world.
The construction of the Bridge began in 1936, and it took seven long years to complete. The bridge was finally opened to the public on February 3, 1943, and it has been serving as a crucial link between Howrah and Kolkata ever since.
Engineering Marvel of Howrah Bridge:
The Howrah Bridge is a suspension bridge that spans over 450 meters, making it one of the longest bridges in the world. It is supported by two massive towers, each over 270 feet high, which are anchored to the riverbed with huge concrete blocks.
The main cables of the Bridge are made up of over 26,000 high tensile steel wires, each around 5mm in diameter, which is twisted together to form six main cables. The cables are anchored to the towers and are suspended over the bridge deck, which is made up of riveted steel girders.
One of the unique features of the Bridge is that it does not have any nuts or bolts, and the entire structure is held together by rivets. The bridge is made up of over two million rivets, which were heated in a furnace before being inserted into the steel plates and then hammered into place.
The Bridge was built using a unique cantilever design, which means that the bridge deck is supported on both ends by the main cables and the towers, without any intermediate supports. This design allows the bridge to withstand the strong tidal currents of the Hooghly River, which can reach speeds of up to 20 km/hour.
Significance of Howrah Bridge:
The Bridge is not only an engineering marvel but also an important landmark of Kolkata’s cultural heritage. It is a symbol of Kolkata’s resilience and strength, as the bridge has withstood several natural disasters, including floods and cyclones.
The Bridge is not just a means of transportation, but it is also a cultural hub of Kolkata. The bridge is a popular spot for street vendors, musicians, and artists, and it attracts thousands of visitors every day.
The Bridge has also been featured in several Bollywood movies, including the iconic scene from the movie ‘Howrah Bridge,’ in which the legendary actress Madhubala dances on the bridge deck.
In conclusion, the Bridge is a testament to the resilience and engineering prowess of Kolkata. Its unique design and construction have made it an iconic landmark of the city, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Despite the challenges faced during its construction, the Bridge stands strong today as a symbol of Kolkata’s cultural heritage and strength. The bridge has not only played a crucial role in connecting Howrah and Kolkata but has also served as a cultural hub for the city.
As one of the longest suspension bridges in the world, the Bridge has become an important part of the city’s skyline, and its significance cannot be overstated. It is a true engineering marvel and a landmark that will continue to inspire and captivate visitors for generations to come.
Frequently Asked Questions About Howrah Bridge
- What is the Howrah Bridge?
The Bridge is a suspension bridge that spans over the Hooghly River in Kolkata, connecting the city of Howrah to Kolkata.
- When was the Bridge constructed?
The construction of the Bridge began in 1936 and was completed in 1943.
- Who designed the Howrah Bridge?
The Bridge was designed by British engineers Rendel, Palmer, and Tritton, in consultation with the Indian engineer M. N. Dastur.
- How long is the Howrah Bridge?
The Bridge spans over 450 meters, making it one of the longest bridges in the world.
- What is the significance of the Howrah Bridge?
The Bridge is an important landmark of Kolkata’s cultural heritage and resilience. It has withstood several natural disasters and has become a symbol of the city’s strength.
- Is the Howrah Bridge safe for pedestrians?
Yes, the Bridge has separate walkways for pedestrians on either side of the bridge, making it safe for people to cross on foot.
- What is the unique feature of the Howrah Bridge?
The Bridge is held together by rivets instead of nuts and bolts, and it is made up of over two million rivets.
- What is the maximum speed of the tidal currents in the Hooghly River?
The tidal currents in the Hooghly River can reach speeds of up to 20 km/hour.
- How is the Howrah Bridge maintained?
The Bridge is regularly inspected and maintained by a team of engineers and workers to ensure its structural integrity.
- Is the Howrah Bridge a popular tourist attraction?
Yes, the Bridge is a popular tourist attraction and cultural hub of Kolkata. It attracts thousands of visitors every day, including street vendors, musicians, and artists.