A Bridge Too High

Chenab-Bridge-2 While we knew that we would reach for new heights, we didn’t think it would be quite this literally! Over the last few months, we’ve been engaged on a project which is something for the record books.

The Chenab Bridge is being constructed between Bakkal and Kauri in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), India. When completed, the bridge will span 1,315m and the deck will be 359m above the water level, making it the highest rail bridge in the world.

By providing better connectivity and accessibility, it is anticipated to contribute towards the economic development of the region and the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Konkan Railway Corporation, famous for delivering the iconic railway that winds its way down the Western Ghats, is heading the execution works of the project. Design and construction of the bridge was awarded to a joint venture of Afcons Infrastructure, Ultra Construction & Engineering Company of South Korea and VSL IndiaAmberg Engineering chairs the review work of the alignments.

Chenab-Bridge-3   When we got the opportunity to work with Afcons on this project, we grabbed it with both hands. What we are trying to do at Chenab Bridge is to try and help project management and IT in a few ways:

  • Project turnover in real-time, factoring in the actual progress of works: nPulse helps project management by generating forward looking revenue projections which week-on-week get adjusted to provide a complete picture of the moving completion date and estimated revenue projections. This enables project management to efficiently schedule work at the site so that their revenue goals are realized.
  • Integrate disparate systems: With nPulse in the mix, for the first time, the project schedule stored in Primavera and bill of quantities (BOQ) stored in SAP are kept flawlessly in sync. The schedule and BOQ are brought into nPulse and inter-linked, and from that point forward, a single site update takes care of updating the schedule progress as well as the revenue progress, which are taken back to their respective source systems. With this and the automated reporting, a great deal of manual effort in keeping these systems current and in sync, and the chore of routine reporting are automated.
  • Last mile connectivity: By providing the end user with the nPulse Android application for keying in updates, truly mobile “last mile” connectivity is achieved. This is particularly important in this geographically spread out project, where some of the team members are located across the river gorge and cannot cross over every day to update systems! It also free up the planning team’s time to work on more value adding planning activities rather than data entry and reporting.

nPulse was specifically built with the intention of tying in project information across the diverse range of stakeholders-internal and external; who typically operate across a gamut of data collection systems, and to address the gaps in project information supply chains. Owing to the disparate systems lack of interoperability and latency almost become resident impediments. These impediments not only have a cost towards distribution and dissemination of information but also can cause delays in identifying problems ahead of time, in resolution efforts and in decision making at various levels, which again come to hurt various stakeholders financially. At Chenab, we have taken quite a few strides that have helped the product go a long way in realizing these goals..     Chenab-Bridge-1 It has been an interesting few months for us, to say the least. One of the things that have made this engagement very productive and smooth flowing is the fact that there is good alignment within the client’s organization between the business and IT, and that certainly makes things a whole lot easier for a technology vendor to make quick progress. Another aspect of the project which awes us unfailingly is the sheer commitment and dedication of the personnel deployed at the site. Most of them are far away from home and kin, and the site is 4 hours over a grueling road (track, almost!) from the nearest amenities. To give you a sense of what life is like at Chenab, here’s a picture of a landslide that blocked on our very first visit to the site: Chenab-Bridge-4 This is more or less a routine day in the mountains for these folk! With all these challenges, the site team manages to keep the show rocking, and have taken the time to understand and adopt nPulse wholeheartedly. Their ahead of the curve thinking is not just shown by their receptivity to new ideas in technology, but also in the way their processes are run. The workshop teams use lean principles and the Last Planner technique to schedule and execute their work. Chenab-Bridge-5   Chenab-Bridge-6   And last, but definitely not the least, is the opportunity to visit some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Everything about the location is superlative. These are the highest mountains in the world, the river gorge is one of the deepest; even the crane erected to move the bridge segments from the workshop to the structure is the largest of its kind in the world. The mountain air and the works of nature and man really take our breath away! Chenab-Bridge-7   Chenab-Bridge-8 Chenab-Bridge-9 The Chenab adventure has just begun. We look forward to working with Afcons in achieving another record shattering milestone in the world of civil engineering.




  • 5 Feb, 2015
  • Venu Madhav
  • BoQ, Data integration, EPC, nPulse, Primavera, Railway Bridge, SAP, Schedule,

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