The centenary of historical Hardinge Bridge, which was constructed over the Padma River in 1915 and named after
then Viceroy of India Lord Hardinge, was observed here on Wednesday with different programmes.
A committee, which was formed to observe the centenary of the bridge, arranged the programmes on the eastern side of the bridge at Pakshey on the occasion.
The progammes included hoisting the national flag, cutting cakes and discussions.
According to railway sources, the construction of a railway bridge over the Padma was proposed in 1889 by the Eastern Bengal Railway for easier communication between Kolkata and the then Eastern Bengal and Assam. Beginning in 1910, the construction of the bridge completed in 1912 engaging 24,400 workers.
Lord Hardinge inaugurated train movement over the bridge on March 4, 1915
The bridge comprises 15 steel trusses. The main girders are modified ‘Petit’ type.
The most difficult task was to prevent bank erosion and make the river flow permanently under the bridge. For this, two guide banks of the ‘Bell-bund’ type named after J. R. Bell were built on either side, each extending 910 metres (3,000 ft) upstream and 300 metres (1,000 ft) downstream from the bridge. The ends of the river banks were curved inward and heavily pitched with stones.
Hardinge Bridge was severely damaged during the Liberation War in 1971. It happened on December 11, 1971, when the Indian Air Force plane bombed the 4th guarder from the Pakshey side. As the Pakistani army was on retreat towards Jessore (their last stronghold), the Hardinge Bridge was strategically very important.
After Bangladesh’s independence, the bridge was repaired with the help of Indian and British governments.
The bridge, which bears the memory of the Liberation War, has now become a tourist attraction. A large number of people throng the area every year to see the historical bridge and the natural beauty of the river banks.