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Perhaps the most recognizable and defining structure of Kolkata is the Howrah Bridge. It’s certainly the most iconic and renowned bridge in the country and has been the backdrop for several national and international film productions. Though many of us commute regularly or often, along the historic structure, there is little about the bridge that we actually know. Here are some little known facts about Howrah Bridge that you should know:
#1 Before the Howrah Bridge was built in the 20th century, there floated a pontoon bridge, which was the first incarnation of the architectural marvel that stands before us today. Since such a floating bridge had limited carriage capabilities, it was eventually replaced with the new structure according to the Howrah Bridge Amendment Act of 1935.
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#2 Construction of Howrah Bridge took 6 years, starting from 1936 to 1942. It was finally opened up for commuting in 1943. So the bridge has been serving Kolkata for almost 74 years. #Wow
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#3 The Howrah Bridge stretches 705 meters in length and is 71 feet in width, not including the 14 feet footpaths on each side. #Massive
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#4 The first vehicle to cross the Howrah Bride was Kolkata’s iconic Tram car. It was discontinued along the route from 1993. #Nostalgic
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#5 Howrah Bridge is a cantilever bridge, meaning it was built with cantilever mechanism that projects and supports structures horizontally from one end.
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#6 The massive Howrah Bridge doesn’t have a single nut or bolt; it was raised by steel riveting the entire structure along the cantilever beams. #ArchitecturalMasterpiece
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#7 At the time of erection, the Howrah Bridge was the 3rd longest bridge of its kind, after the Pont de Québec in Canada and Forth Bridge in Scotland. Currently, it’s the 6th longest cantilever bridge in the world.
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#8 On 14th June, 1965, the Bridge was renamed Rabindra Setu, in honor of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, but it still continues to be known by its popular name, Howrah Bridge. #Respect
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#9 It took 26,500 tons of steel to construct the bridge and during renovation it took around 26,000 litres of lead free paint to coat the entire bridge.
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#10 Most of the premium quality steel required to construct the bridge was supplied by Tata Steel, which was at the forefront of India’s industrial revolution.
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#11 Howrah Bridge carries an estimated 100,000 plus vehicles daily, along with over 150,000 pedestrians, which makes it one of the busiest cantilever bridges in the world.
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Whether you are a resident of the city or a visitor, these facts about the Howrah Bridge should give a greater appreciation for one of the most marvelous bridges in the world.