India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated the world’s tallest statue at 182-m (597 ft) located in Gujarat, India. The steel, concrete and brass-clad statue is almost double the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US.
Built as a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – famously known as the ‘The Iron Man of India’ – the Statue of Unity is an engineering marvel completed in a record 33 months. The 20,000-sq m project is located at Kevadia Town in Gujarat near the Sardar Sarovar dam. Larsen & Toubro was the EPC contractor for the project while Turner was the Project Management Consultant.
For SN Subrahmanyan, CEO and Managing Director, Larsen & Toubro, “The Statue of Unity, apart from being a symbol of national pride and integration, is also a tribute to India’s engineering skills and project management abilities. Larsen & Toubro has delivered several projects of national significance, and we are proud to be associated with building the world’s tallest statue, which is a fitting homage to the Iron Man of India – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.”
MV Satish, Whole Time Director & Executive Vice President-Buildings, Minerals & Metals, L&T, said, “Right from concept through the entire process of developing the design, the features and characteristics of the statue, the engineering, project planning, logistics, cost controls, were all managed extremely efficiently and reflects a triumph of teamwork.”
The Statue of Unity complex comprises an exhibition centre at its base, a memorial garden, a designer bridge connecting Sadhu Island with the mainland along the Narmada River, an internal roadway of 5 km length, improvements to the existing roads, bridges, culverts connecting the area of Sadhu Island. It also hosts an administrative complex and a star rated hotel (Shrestha Bharat Bhavan) and a conference centre. The structure has two vertical cores, each housing a high-speed passenger elevator. The vertical cores support the steel frames to which about 6,500 bronze panels are clad. A viewing gallery at the level at the chest at 135 m (443 ft), can accommodate up to 200 visitors at one go and affords a breath-taking view of the Sardar Sarovar dam and its environs.
The project has made use of 210,000 cu m of concrete, 70,000 MT of cement and 18,500 MT of reinforced steel; 6,500 MT structural steel has been used to form the support structure, while 1,700 MT bronze panels (6,500 nos) forms the outermost layer. The statue can withstand wind speeds of up to 180 km per hour and survive earthquakes measuring up to 6.5 on the Richter Scale.
The project has made use of LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) for survey. Considering the varied topography of the site, this method was used to arrive at high quality and high resolution data. Further, satellite imagery for construction topographic model of all the Statue of Unity site (1:1500 scale) for wind tunnel testing has been used. The statue orientation has been undertaken through Shadow analysis. As part of digital initiatives, the Statue Digital crossover process was done to match the 3D features as close as possible to the real-life photographs. For site monitoring, the project made use of Drone Photography; this helped in monitoring the progress of the site and was especially helpful considering the uneven terrain. Other digital initiatives that the project undertook included statue Panelisation; Virtual Reality for visualisation and review; smart drawings; material tracking; and Building Management System (BMS) on safety and BMS on operations.