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New Delhi: The Ministry of Railways on Saturday said 84% of work on the much-awaited India’s first vertical lift sea bridge - New Pamban bridge - connecting the mainland with Rameswaram Island has been completed.

“The re-construction work on the new 2.05 km Pamban railway bridge which will connect Rameswaram island to the mainland in Tamil Nadu has gathered pace. Till Date, 84% of the construction work has been completed," said a press release.

All 333 piles completed and the work of 101 pile cap and sub structure has also been completed, 76 out of 99 girders launched.

“Fabrication of Vertical Lift Span girder is nearing completion. Assembling Platform for Vertical Lift Span on Rameswaram end of bridge is getting ready. Track laying work is in progress," it said.

This state-of-the-art bridge will be the country’s first vertical lift railway sea bridge and is expected to be completed by March 2023.

“The sea bridge is being executed by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) at a cost of 535 crores. The bridge will allow the Indian Railways to operate trains at a higher speed. It will also increase traffic between the mainland of India and Rameswaram island," the ministry said.

The existing Pamban Rail Bridge, which connects Rameswaram to mainland India, is 105 years old. The original bridge was built in 1914 to connect Mandapam to the Rameswaram island situated in the Gulf of Mannar. It was the only link connecting the two locations until a new road bridge was built parallel to the sea link in 1988.

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