Dream Bridge Opens Today
Padma Bridge redefines Bangladesh
The nation is celebrating the momentous event of the opening of the long- cherished Padma Bridge, the gigantic super-structure ever in the history of the country. With the construction of the 6.15km long bridge with its own funds, the country is demonstrating its ability, morale and glory to the world. None but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina showed the way to this dream project to the nation and the nation's dream project is finally going to be inaugurated today with the touch of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after breaking all the conspiracies of home and abroad.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to inaugurate the Padma Bridge at the Mawa end around 10:00am. Later, she will cross the bridge and attend a mammoth rally at Ilias Ahmed Chowdhury ferry ghat of Kathalbari in Madaripur district at 11:00am. The nation looks forward to seeing the grand opening ceremony of the country's longest and the world's 11th largest bridge. It is also proclaiming the country's fast-growing economy.
Though the bridge is going to be opened on Saturday, it will be available for public movement on Sunday morning. The bridge is a milestone for the country's connectivity and will allow hundreds of thousands of people living in the 21 south-western districts to enjoy quicker travel to and from the capital Dhaka and beyond.
The main Padma Bridge is 6.15 km. The total length of the connecting bridge and the bridge is 9.63 km. Although the project cost Tk 30,193 crore, the construction of two-storey bridge including railway line cost Tk 12,100 crore. Tk 9,400 crore has been spent on 14km river training, Tk 1,500 crore on rehabilitation, Tk 2,600 crore on acquisition of 2600 hectares of land and Tk 1,908 crore on construction of 12km long 8-lane connecting road. Besides, consultancy, army security, construction yard and other expenses are Tk 2,500 crore. There are 294 piles in Padma Bridge.
The average depth of these piles is 122 meters, which is equivalent to a 40 storey building. As the soil condition at the bottom of the river was bad, the skin had to be grouted in 61 piles of 22 pillars. The 6.15 km long bridge has 415 electric lights.
The government has spent nearly Tk 80,000 crore so far on developing road and rail connectivity under the much-hyped project.
According to project officials, establishing a rail link through the lower deck of the bridge and river training work are likely to be completed in June next year.
According to experts, if the Padma Bridge is launched, the growth will increase by 1 to 2 per cent. Moreover direct communication will be established between Mongla Port and Benapole Land Port through the capital and port city Chattogram.
ECNEC approved the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project in March 2016. The government approved the construction of a 169 km railway line from Dhaka to Jashore at a cost of Tk 349.89 billion. The project was to be implemented using a loan from China.
The toll rates for different types of vehicles have been announced, beginning from Tk 100 for motorcycles and Tk 750 for cars and jeeps.
People can pay tolls both through digital and manual systems. However, electronic toll collection (ETC) will not start this year, officials have said. As such, people can pay tolls manually for the time being.
On June 7, the government raised bus fares on 13 routes, adding the toll fixed for crossing the Padma Bridge to go to different south-western districts.
Through the construction of the Padma Bridge, the southern part of the country would no longer remain ignored.
The construction of the bridge started on November 26, 2014. The deadline for completion of the work under the contract was November 25, 2018. Later, the deadline was extended.
China Major Bridge Company under China Railway Group Limited was contracted for the construction of the main bridge and Sinohydro Corporation Limited of China for the link road, of which the contract value was Tk 12,133,39 crore and Tk 8,707.81 crore respectively.
The government had acquired 2,693.21 hectares of land for the bridge.
The Awami League government initiated the project in 1998. The pre-feasibility study of the project began in 1999 with government financing. Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of the project on July 4, 2001.
In 2007, the then government approved the project at an estimated Tk 10,161crore.
In 2010, the Awami League government invited pre-qualification tenders while the World Bank signed an agreement of $1.2 billion to finance the project. But the lending agency withdrew itself from the project raising allegations of bribery conspiracy. The government refused all allegations and then Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina decided to build the bridge with the country's own resources to give a strong reply to the World Bank allegations.
In 2011, the ECNEC approved a revised cost of Tk 20,507.20 crore for the project. In 2016, when the expenditure was increased again by Tk 8,286 crore, the total cost stood at Tk 28,793.39 crore.
The pre-feasibility study of the bridge project was conducted by Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) in 1998-1999 with Bangladesh government's fund. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) did the feasibility study during 2003-2005.
International and national consultants headed by AECOM prepared the detailed design of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge. The team comprised AECOM, SMEC International, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants and ACE Consultants, with additional assistance from Aas-Jakobsen and HR Wallingford.
In January of 2017, a Canadian court acquitted all accused of charges of corruption and termed the case baseless as it had been based on speculation, gossip and rumours. In September of the same year, the first span of the 41-span-bridge was installed.
In October 2017, more than one and a half years after the main construction work began, the first span was installed between pillars 37 and 38.
On November 27 in 2020, construction of all 42 pillars had been completed. The final 41st span of the bridge was installed on December 10 in 2020.
The last road slab was installed on the span that linked pillars 12 and 13 of the Padma Bridge on August 24 in 2021 making it the longest bridge in Bangladesh.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) conducted a detailed survey in 2009, which shows that some 24,000 vehicles will pass through the bridge if inaugurated at the beginning of 2022. The number will increase every year and is estimated to reach more than 67,000 vehicles by 2050.
After confirming the date of inauguration on June 25 the lamp posts were starting to get electricity as the entire Padma Bridge lamp posts have electricity.
This will be a two-story bridge. Vehicles will run on the concrete slabs made on the top of steel spans and the train will run through the spans. It will be a 22 meters wide road divided into four lanes.
Now the Padma Bridge stands as a line of light on the chest of the mighty Padma River and it is declaring the prosperity and magnificence of the nation.