Calcutta-Howrah Bridge a feat of nineteenth-century bridge engineering and technology. In 1871, an act was passed empowering the Lieutenant-Governor to construct with government finance a bridge across the Hughli river between Calcutta and Howrah at or near Armenian Ghat as he might select, to make and maintain ways and approaches, and to authorise the levy of tolls according to a fixed scale.
Completed in 1874, the Calcutta-Howrah Bridge became the biggest floating structure ever built in Bengal and in India. Famed British Engineer Sir Bradford Leslie was contracted for planning, designing and executing the project. For technical reasons, a portion of the bridge was made in England and shipped to Calcutta, where it was assembled on the site. While it was being constructed, the bridge was partially destroyed by the great cyclone of 20 March 1874.
A steamer, the Egeria, broke from her moorings in the river, and collided with the bridge, damaging and sinking three pontoons, and completely destroying 200 feet of the superstructure of the bridge. However, the bridge was opened for traffic on 17 October 1874. It was described at the time as a structure of much novelty and originality in its design, execution and materials. Its length was 1528 feet between abutments, and its cost was about six million rupees. [Sirajul Islam]