The Padma Bridge is no longer a dream for the countrymen, it’s a reality now as the construction work of main bridge and river training of the two-tier Padma Multipurpose Bridge formally beginning tomorrow, agencies report. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the main bridge construction and river training work at Janzira in Shariatpur and Mawa in Munshiganj in the morning.
Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League president, is scheduled to address a “Sudhi Samabesh” (civic rally) at Janzira point in the morning, and a public meeting, to be organised by local AL, at Khanbari in North Medini Mondal under Louhajanj upazila in Munshiganj in the afternoon. The bridge will open up a new horizon in the country’s communication system and bring a revolutionary change in the life and livelihood of nearly six crore people of 19 southern districts as it will connect them with the rest of the country including the capital, Dhaka, directly, experts said.
They said it would reduce the long time sufferings of the people of those districts, cutting their travel time by two to three hours, to go to other parts of the country. Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said the government is expected to complete the much-talked 6.15-kilometre-long Padma Bridge between Mawa of Munshiganj and Janzira of Shariatpur by 2018.
“Around 27 percent work on the bridge has been completed so far, as its construction is progressing fast, thanks to the bold and dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he told journalists on Thursday while visiting the bridge construction site. The minister said Sheikh Hasina would score another victory for the nation by inaugurating the main construction work of the Padma Bridge in the month of victory.
“Bangalee nation has achieved victory in the War of Liberation in 1971 under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and in 2015, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the worthy daughter of Bangabandhu, is going to triumph economic victory by opening the Padma Multipurpose Bridge,” Quader said.
The minister said the two-tier Padma Bridge having provisions for movement of vehicles on the upper tier of the bridge and operation of train on the lower tier would be built with concrete and steel structure. After completion, the bridge, designed to carry a highway and rail line, will connect 19 southern districts with the capital and around 60 percent work of approach roads between Jajira and Mawa sides has already been completed, officials said.
The government is building the Padma Bridge, country’s largest infrastructure, with its own funds of Tk 28,000 crore. The work on the Padma Bridge is broadly divided into five parts — the main bridge, river training, two link roads and infrastructure (service area) construction. Padma Bridge Project Director M Shafiqul Islam said the main construction work of the Padma Bridge includes piling and river training.
According to a ministry source, the design and land reclamation to construct a 160-km railway on both sides of the Padma from Dhaka to Jessore are also being carried out. The China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Corporation which was appointed for construction of the main bridge, will carry out the work. The soil testing and dredging works have been going on for the last four months for the river training purpose.
The bridge will have a total of 42 pillars. Each will have six piles beneath. Steel spans will be placed on the pillars. The bridge will have a total of 41 spans. China’s Sinohydro Corporation was appointed for the river training work, while Bangladesh’s Abdul Monem Limited was given the contract for the two approach roads and infrastructure construction.
Bangladesh Army, BUET and Korea Expressway Corporation and Associates are supervising the construction of the bridge expected to boost country’s trade, development and economic activities.