Padma Bridge by 2020

Kamol Zoha Khan from Jajira (Shariatpur) | Update:

.Anwar Howladar was sitting on a trawler by the banks of the river Padma, at Noudoba, Shariatpur. It was around 10 in the morning and the 50-year-old Anwar was gazing at the construction across the river as he sat eating his rice. Just an hour ago, work on a 150 metre span of the bridge had been completed. Was he worried that the bridge would hamper his business?
Anwar was irritated by such a question, “What do you mean? The bridge is a good thing, it’s an asset to the nation.”

He continued, “The bridge won’t stop our boats. Buses will cross over the bridge and we’ll be carrying people to the villages by boat. That won’t stop.”
He is confident about the bridge, “Construction has started and it will be completed.” Like Anwar, the project officials are also looking forward to the work on the bridge to be completed soon.

A senior engineer of the Padma Bridge project told Prothom Alo, “There were hitches regarding the design of pillars 6 and 7, but that has been resolved. We hope the bridge will be complete by June 2020.” Another span will be placed on pillars 35 and 36 probably in February.
Head of the project’s panel of experts Professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury told Prothom Alo, there are no major projects over Padma Bridge anymore. The designs of the pillars have been handed over and explained to the contractors. Now the construction work has to be speeded up. Hopefully, work on the bridge will be completed by the first half of 2020.”

A visit to the site reveals another span ready and kept at the construction yard in Kumarbhog. Another five spans are almost ready and will be put in place over the next few months. The spans are now being placed from the Jajira end as, at the Mawa side, construction of pillars 6 and 7 is not complete as yet. Pillars 12 and 13, mid-river, are ready.

The two-level Padma Bridge stretches from Mawa in Munshiganj to Jajira, Shariatpur. The main part of the bridge, over the river itself, is 6.16 km. And with the part which spans over the land, it is around 9 km. Trains will run along the steel spans being placed upon the pillars. The other vehicles will run above.
Padma Bridge has 42 pillars, placed 150 metres apart. And 41 steel spans are to connect the pillars. The spans were made in China and shipped to Bangladesh.
After overcoming certain complications in the bridge’s design, project director Shafiqul Islam told Prothom Alo, “Work has begun on the piles pillars 6 and 7. The major problems have been overcome.”

Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader, speaking to the media at the secretariat on Sunday, said that there had been 63 per cent progress on the Padma Bridge. He said that there had been 73 per cent progress of the main project and 50 per cent on the river training.

Work on the iconic Padma Bridge project began in 2007. The caretaker government at the time approved of the project on 28 August 2017 at a cost of Tk 101.61 billion. Later, as Awami League came to power, the railway line was added to the project and the expenditure was first amended on 11 January 2011. The present expenditure of the project stands at over Tk 300 billion. The contractor of the main bridge construction is the Chinese firm, China Major Bridge Engineering Construction Company. The river training is being done by another Chinese firm Sinohydro Corporation. A local contractor firm is constructing the toll plazas on either ends of the bridge, the links roads and other infrastructure.

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