Howrah Bridge is one of most famous landmarks of West Bengal, India.
When commissioned in 1943, it was the 3rd largest cantilever bridge in the world and today, it is still counted among the 10 largest cantilever bridges of the world. A cantilever bridge is the one built using cantilevers, structures that project horizontally into space, supported on only one end. The interesting thing about this bridge is that it does not have any nuts or bolts. It has been made by riveting the whole structure. The bridge required 26,500 tons of steel; out of which 23000 tons was a high-tensile alloy steel called ‘Tiscrom’, supplied by Tata Steel.
Some interesting facts about the bridge are:
1. On June 14th, 1965, the bridge was renamed Rabindra Setu after the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. However, it is still popularly known as Howrah Bridge.
2. The Howrah Bridge may be the world’s busiest cantilever bridge, bearing a load of around 100,000 vehicles and over 150,000 pedestrians each day. To put those figures in perspective, traffic in 1946 was recorded as little over 27,000 vehicles, around 121,000 pedestrians, and close to 3,000 cattle.
3. The first transport to make the journey across the Hooghly was a tram. Because of the heavy load on the bridge, the use of trams was discontinued along with the route from 1993.
4. Bird droppings and human spitting cause corrosion to the bridge. The Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) engaged contractors to regularly clean the bird droppings, at an annual expense of Rs. 500000. The KoPT also spent Rs. 6.5 million to paint the entire bridge, which required a total of 26,500 liters of paint.
5. It has featured in numerous movies, Hindi, Malayalam, Bengali, Tamil, etc. Few movies shot here are Gunday, Barfi!, Love Aaj Kal, Tamil film Aadhavan, Malayalam Film Calcutta News, Roland Joffé’s English language film City of Joy and a movie called Howrah Bridge as well.