Padma Bridge is not only connecting the South and Southwestern region with the capital but it is also likely to extend its connection beyond the borders of the country. It will build connection with at least 32 countries of the world through Asian Highways.
Apart from the 21 districts in the South and Southwest of the country, the bridge will connect Dhaka to the Asian Highway network. This connection will be made through three routes of the Asian Highway. Its length will be 145,000 kilometers. And the length of this connecting road inside the country is 1,757 kilometers.
The Asian Highway-1 (AH-1) Route is Guwahati to Petrapole via Tamabil- Shayestaganj-Narsingdi-Mawa-Bhanga-Narail-Jessore-Petrapole. Length of this route is 491km. At present, the distance of West Bengal with Assam of India through Bangladesh by road is 1,126 kilometers.
The biggest obstacle in this path was crossing the river Padma. Having a bridge, one can travel from India to Bangladesh in the fastest time on one highway. It is considered that the route of this highway from Bangladesh to Singapore and Europe can be reached through the Padma Bridge.
The AH-2 route is from Guwahati to the Northern part of West Bengal via Sylhet-Dhaka-Bogra-Rangpur-Banglabandha. Its length will be 512 kilometers.
Besides, there will be a railway line on the Padma Bridge which will be connected with the Trans Asian Railway. This will connect from Petrapole to Benapole via Jessore-Narail-Dhaka-Chittagong-Ghundhum to Myanmar. The dream of Trans Asian Railway, the largest project of railways in Asia, is also being fulfilled through the Padma Bridge. If this project is implemented, rail communication system will be introduced with other countries of Asia.
The connection will extend through the Asian Highway to various countries in the Japan-Korea-China-Indonesia-Bangladesh-India-Pakistan-Middle East to the Turkish border in Iran.
Experts are hopeful and said that this will open new horizons of mutual cooperation including trade and commerce.
Padma Bridge Project Director Engineer Shafiqul Islam earlier informed media, “We did it on the advice of the World Bank. When the train will operate from Singapore to Europe, it will be operated through Padma Bridge. These trains will carry a lot of cargo, and we have built a heavy bridge.”
With the inauguration of the bridge, the distance between Dhaka and Kolkata is decreasing by about 150 kilometers by road. The reduction in travel time will benefit both tourism and trade.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister S.M. Rezaul Karim said, “The inauguration of Padma Bridge brings a revolutionary change in the communication sector of South Asian countries including the internal communication of Bangladesh. In addition to facilitating transport, the Padma Bridge will have a positive impact on the economy.”
Executive Director of the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) Professor Selim Raihan said, “To make full use of the connectivity of the country with India, Nepal, and Bhutan, we need more planning. We have already seen some impacts. People have already started investing in transport sector.”
“To get the highest utilization of this bridge we need proper planning,” he added.
According to sources, the Asian Highway Network (AH), also known as the Great Asian Highway, is a cooperative project among countries in Asia and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to improve their connectivity via highway systems.
Agreements have been signed by 32 countries to allow the highway to cross the continent and also reach to Europe. Some of the countries taking part in the highway project are India (Look-East connectivity projects), Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Nepal and Bangladesh.