Pamban bridge

Pamban bridge

Overview

Known to be India’s first sea bridge, the Pamban Bridge is an engineering marvel and one of its kind. Pamban Bridge is the bridge connecting the town of Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India.

With 143 piers, spanning 2 kilometres between the mainland and the island, Pamban Bridge is the second longest sea bridge in India after the 2.3 kilometres long Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai’s western coast.

Location

Pamban Bridge is located in Rameswaram which forms the south eastern tip of India. Rameswaram connects itself to mainland India through this century old sea bridge.

Design of the Bridge

Pamban Bridge is the first cantilever bridge to be built. The double leaf bascule section of the bridge was constructed a century ago, so that the ferry services are not interrupted. The bridge opens into two facilitating the ships and ferries to cross the Palk Strait that connects Rameswaram and Pamban Island. The splitting of the bridge is a breathtaking sight to marvel.

The bridge consists of over 140 spans with midway along the bridge (i.e 114​th​ span) being called Scherzer span. The total length of the bridge is 2.057 kilometres. It has 145 spans of 12.20 metres steel girder and Scherzer navigational rolling lift span of 225 metres.

Construction of the Bridge

The construction of the rail bridge commenced by 1911 and was commissioned in February 24, 1914. German engineer Scherzer designed the central part of the bridge that opens up to allow ferry movement. On an average, 10 to 15 boats and small ships cross from beneath the bridge every month.

The cyclonic storm of 1964 that flattened the port town Dhanushkodi caused a huge damage to the bridge but the rolling life centre span was not
damaged. Around 600 workers and 4000 tonnes of cement were used for the construction of the bridge.

Maintenance of the Bridge

The cyclone in 1964 led to a tragic train accident, after which the Indian Railways installed devices to check the wind velocity across the Pamban via duct. Train movement is halted on the bridge when the wind speed exceeds 58 kmph.

The railway line on Pamban Bridge was converted from metre-gauge to broad-gauge in the year 2007.

How to reach Pamban Bridge

The bridge is located 14.8 kilometres from Rameswaram. Public or private transport is available to Pamban Bridge from Ramanathapuram and Rameswaram. Rameswaram has its own railway station. The nearest airports are at Madurai, around 120 kilometres from Ramanathapuram and Thoothukudi which is around 145 kilometres from Ramanathapuram.

Epilogue

Pamban Bridge is one of the prime attractions of Tamil Nadu. Take a ride over the fascinating Pamban Bridge for a thrilling experience. The bridge also offers a spectacular view of the sea, Rameswaram Island, Kunthukal Vivekananda Memorial and the nearby islands. One can also have a fun family time in the Children’s Park at Mandapam shore at the farther end of Pamban Bridge.