She opened the two bridges via a video-conference call
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has inaugurated the 930-metre Second Meghna Bridge and the 1,410-metre Second Gumti Bridge of the Dhaka-Chittagong highway.
She inaugurated the bridges on Saturday. The structures were built to reduce the plight of travellers on this vital national highway, reports UNB.
Hasina opened the two bridges via a video-conference call from her official residence Ganabhaban, in Dhaka.
On March 16, Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Shitalakkhya Bridge, the second Kanchpur Bridge on the Shitalakkhya river—another bridge that was part of the same project.
The work on the around-400-metre new Kanchpur bridge—at a cost of Tk950 crore—was completed in December 2017. The new bridge is two metres wider than the old one. The authorities have already started restoring the old bridge.
The 930-metre Meghna and 1,410-metre Gumti bridges cost Tk1750 crore and Tk1950 crore, respectively, to construct.
The dual carriageway between the port city and the capital shrinks to a single one on the Meghna and Gumti bridges. The old Kanchpur Bridge is technically a dual carriageway, but its width is inadequate.
Given the situation, traffic often crawls to a halt at the approaches to the bridges. The situation worsens ahead of Eid, and during weekends, as more vehicles ply the highway.
The premier also opened the Konabari and Chandra Flyover; Kaliakair, Deohata, Mirzapur, and Gharinda underpass; and Kadda 1 and Bimail bridges on the Joydebpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga Highway under the SASEC Road Link Project, reports UNB.
Completed before extended deadline
Japanese contractors—Obayshi Corporation, Shimizu Corporation, JFE Engineer Corporation, and IHI Infra Systems Company Limited—began constructing the Second Kanchpur Bridge along with the Second Meghna and Second Meghna-Gumti bridges on the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway in January 2016.
The total estimated cost of the three bridges was Tk8,486.94 crore. Of the amount, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) provided Tk6,430 crore.
As per the contract, the Japanese firms began working in January 2016 and were scheduled to complete them by June 2019. However, the progress of the work was halted for around four months after the Holey Artisan attack in July 2016, reports UNB.
Later, the government extended the deadline by six months by re-setting it in December 2019. However, the construction of the bridges was completed seven months before schedule.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader and Japanese Ambassador Hiroyasu Izumi also spoke at the opening event.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq and Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque were also present.