The government is likely to start physical work of the country's first largest steel-arch bridge on the Brahmaputra River in Mymensingh in June as the authorities have completed the preparatory work.
The bridge aims to improve connectivity between the capital and the districts under Mymensingh division.
KBM Saddam Hossain, Executive Engineer of Mymensingh Roads and Public Ways Division, said, “Tenders have been submitted for the construction of the bridge, evaluation is now underway. If the contractor is appointed, the work will start in June.”
This project is being implemented by the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) at an estimated cost of Tk 3,263.63-crore to build the 1,100-metre bridge, which will include a 320-m steel arch over Brahmaputra River.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved this project on August 24 in 2021 for improving road connectivity among the northern districts, a planning commission official said.
The Kewatkhali steel arch bridge will be constructed by June, 2025, he mentioned.
After implementing this project, the road communication to and from land-ports, EPZs, special economic zones situated in those areas with the capital would be improved significantly, he added.
The main project operations include construction of a 2093-meter bridge foundation and substructure, 320-meter steel arch bridge superstructure, 1773-meter concrete bridge and construction of culverts, construction of a toll plaza, and 33.02 hectares of land acquisition and rehabilitation.
However, the people of Jamalpur, Sherpur, Netrakona, Kishoreganj and Sunamganj travel through the only road bridge in Patgudam area over Brahmaputra River.
The divisional city of Mymensingh came to a standstill due to traffic congestion.
A spectacular steel arch bridge modeled after Australia's Sydney Harbor is being constructed to ease the traffic congestion at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge intersection at Patgudam on the old Brahmaputra River in the city.
Its specialty is that there will be no pillars in between even if there are two sides of the river. The bridge will stand on two pillars on either side.
The objective of the project is to reduce congestion and improve mobility and connectivity by addressing the cross-river bottleneck between Mymensingh and Shambhuganj on the Dhaka-Mymensingh-India corridor, reads an AIIB document.
Apart from the bridge, three overpasses, two railway overpasses and one road overpass, and a 6.20-km four-lane road with service lanes on both sides will be built under this project.
The project authorities have to acquire around 33 acres of land for the project, and they have already hired a non-governmental organisation for re-settling the affected people there, said RHD sources.
Mymensingh Chamber of Commerce sees the bridge as important from the economic point of view.
Shankar Saha, vice-president of the organization, said that due to traffic congestion, the fuel consumption increases and the transported goods are also damaged.
This new bridge will be a relief from these sufferings, he said, adding that businessmen will benefit.