Indian Railways plans to complete the Chenab Bridge in Jammu and Kashmir by 2016, making it the world's highest rail bridge. The bridge will be five times higher than Delhi's Qutub Minar and far taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It is being constructed across Chenab river-bed in Salal village of Reasi district. It is a part of project that will connect Baramulla and Srinagar to Jammu via Udhampur-Katra-Qazigund covering the entire route in about seven hours. Currently, it takes exactly double the time - 13 hours - to reach Jammu from Baramulla in northern Kashmir, which is 60 km from Srinagar.
Indian Railways has undertaken the Jammu-Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Line (JUSBRL) mega-project construction which has been declared a national project. The alignment is a combination of a large number of tunnels and bridges. The alignment crosses a deep gorge of the Chenab River, near Salal Hydro Power Dam, which necessitated construction of a long span bridge.
The bridge will have a lifespan of 120 years and will contribute to the economic development, better transportation accessibility to the state and the country.The height of Chenab Bridge is 390 meters exceeding the current tallest bridge on France’s Tarn River (tallest pillar rises 340 meters while the actual height at which trains run on the bridge is 300 meters).
The construction of the JUSBRL was started in 2003 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister. Construction of the Jammu-Udhampur section was completed and opened in April 2005. The project was stopped in September 2008 when the construction of bridge was announced to be unsafe despite the completion of the approach viaducts in 2007. Difficult geological conditions, access problems, tunnel excavation difficulties, labor disputes and development of a lower, more direct route through tunnels were cited as reasons. The alignment of the JUSBRL project was reviewed to give solutions for the challenges faced. In 2009, the review was submitted to the Railway Board and was approved. The design of the bridge, however, was approved in July 2012. The construction of the project restarted in 2010, and has now been declared a national project. As of early 2013, the latest word is that the original route is back on track and the bridge will be built as originally planned.