National, Front Page

Padma Multipurpose Bridge

Dream coming true

Published : 22 Feb 2020 08:35 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 07:04 PM

The Padma Multipurpose Bridge, a longtime dream of the country’s people, is becoming reality every passing day with the installation of spans one after another.

Once the remaining 16 spans of the much-awaited 41-span bridge are installed in phases within June this year, the entire bridge will become visible, said officials.
With fresh hopes and eager expectations, spectators now see a queue of pillars with 25 spans installed on them in the Padma River, giving a new look to one of the mightiest rivers of the world.

With the installation of the latest span on Friday, around 3.75 kilometers of the main structure of the 6.15km mega bridge has now become visible.
The multi-purpose road-rail bridge under construction across the Padma at an estimated cost of Taka 30,193.39 crore (301.93 billion) will connect 19 southern districts with the capital.

Contacted, Dewan Md Abdul Kader, Executive Engineer of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project, said the construction is “going on in full swing” to complete the bridge within the scheduled time.

“We’re optimistic about the completion of the bridge by July next year. Out of 41, we’ve received a total 37 spans from China. Two more spans are now on the way while two others are being made,” he told Bangladesh Post on Saturday.

“The rest 16 spans will be installed by June this year,” he added.
Replying to a query, Abdul Kader said coronavirus issue “would not affect” the construction of Padma Bridge.
A total of 41 spans will be installed on 42 concrete pillars to complete the bridge. The first span was installed on September 30, 2017.
On October 14, 2018, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled the name plaque of the Padma Bridge at the Mawa end. Earlier on December 12, 2015 she inaugurated the bridge construction work.

Along with the span installation, construction work of roadway and railway is also progressing simultaneously, the official added.
The Padma Bridge is expected to boost the country’s economy.
According to experts, the national economy could witness a rise in GDP growth rate by 1.2 percentage points, while poverty might be reduced by 0.84 percentage points every year after the completion of the bridge.
Meanwhile, the government has appointed two consultant firms to know why the cost of the much-hyped Padma Bridge project has been increased and work completion period extended on several occasions.

The two firms -- Bashasthan Engineers & Consultants Ltd and IRG Development Services Limited (IRGDSL) -- have been assigned to evaluate the overall activities and construction works.
The project work began in 2007 at an estimated cost of Tk 10,162 crore (101.62 billion) but the cost went up several times and finally stood at Tk 30,193 crore.

The project was scheduled to end on December 30, 2019. Later, the deadline was extended until June 2021.
As the nation is going to celebrate the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from March 17, 2020 to March 17, 2021, the work on the mega development projects, including Padma Bridge, has been expedited.
According to the project factsheet, 85.5 percent construction works of the main Padma Bridge has been completed so far, while the overall progress of the project is 77 percent.

It shows that 100 percent work of Jajira and Mawa link road and construction of service area-2 have been completed while 66 percent work of river training has also been done so far.

Currently, a panel of experts, including some BUET teachers, is working to solve the pile and soft soil treatment design issues and a design review is also underway.

According to sources, Taka 19,873 crore, amounting to 65.83 percent of the total budget, has so far been spent on the project.
The government has provided a loan of Taka 29,893 crore to Bangladesh Bridge Authority through the Finance Division to implement the Padma Bridge project.
Once the bridge project is completed, the bridge authority will repay the loan money with one percent interest to the government from its income.

As per the loan agreement, the bridge authority will start repaying the loan from 2021-22 fiscal year.
The time period for loan repayment is 35 years. The bridge authority will pay an amount between minimum Taka 826 crore and maximum Taka 1,475 crore in every fiscal year.