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According to the last revised project proposal, work on the project will end by June next year. But the project deadline will be for one more year to fix any possible faults, if developed, in the bridge and pay the contractor’s arrears.

The bridges division sources said now it is important for the main bridge construction to be completed, installing 2,917 concrete slabs to complete the traffic lane. Some 192 slabs are left to be installed. The contractor firm said they would complete the work by 20 October. Officials of the bridges division, however, said if favourable weather continues, it’s possible to finish this work in August because 100 slabs are installed in a month and the contractor firm also laid 110 slabs in last May.

Construction of the double-deck Padma bridge is underway to connect Munshiganj’s Mawa point to Shariatpur’s Zajira point. Vehicle will run on the upper deck and train on the lower deck. The length of the entire bridge is about 10km that includes 6.15km main bridge and 3.68km viaduct on the both sides of the river. Construction of viaduct has been done at Zajira end while work on viaduct will be completed at Mawa end by 15 July.

When asked, project director of Padma bridge project MD Shafiqul Islam told Prothom Alo the contractor firm says they would complete the work by April next year. However, a decision to reopen the bridge in June next year is still in place. The on-going work is not technically complex, but delicate and one is connected to another. Now, the priority is to complete installing concrete slabs immediately.

Illumination and other work

There will be two types of illumination in Padma bridge. One is street lighting for vehicular movement and the other is a permanent lighting system with the purpose of illuminating the entire bridge on the occasion of any festival or national day. The entire system is called architectural lighting.

According to the project documents, two power substations will be set up at both ends of the bridge to supply electricity for street lighting and supply of necessary equipment is likely to complete in two months. A total of 836 lampposts will be installed on the both side of the traffic lanes on the bridge. Supply of these lampposts is likely by September.

Officials at the bridges division said street lighting wouldn’t take much time, but it can’t begin unless installing of slabs and other work end. That’s why deadline of this work has been fixed by 30 April next year.

Railway work progressing

Construction of railway track with installing 2,959 concrete slabs ended on 12 June. Installment of gas pipeline next to the railway track is underway and likely to be competed in next 2-3 months. Besides, walkway is being constructed to carry out the maintenance and supervision for the railway track and likely to be completed in two months.

Railway authorities are implementing a separate project to construct railway lines on both sides of Padma bridge to connect Dhaka to Jashore at a cost of Tk 400 billion (40,000 crore). However, work on installing the railway tracks hasn’t started as yet.

* This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna

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