With the construction of the bridge at least 88 trains will be able to travel between the regions every day
The government will build a dedicated rail bridge over the Jamuna River parallel to the existing Bangabandhu Bridge.
The 4.8km long rail bridge, expected to become operational in August 2024, will ensure faster train services as the route is a part of regional rail connectivity.
Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would lay the foundation stone of the project’s construction work on November 29.
“The new bridge will strengthen the country’s railway services once opened,” the minister told Dhaka Tribune.
The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge Construction Project was proposed in 2012 but received Ecnec approval on December 6, 2016, with a cost estimation of Tk9,734 crore.
Then for different reasons, Bangladesh Railway failed to start construction work and this was why the budget for the project was revised this year.
According to the revised plan, the Bangabandhu Rail Bridge will be constructed at a cost of Tk16,780.95 crore, nearly double the amount mentioned in the initial proposal.
Of the total amount needed for the project, the Bangladesh government will provide Tk4,631.76 crore -- 27.6% of the total cost -- and Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) will provide Tk12,149.19 crore -- 72.4% of the total cost.
Bangladesh Railway, the executing agency of the project, has appointed Japanese consultants for carrying out various feasibility studies, preparing detailed designs and tender documents and supervising construction.
Bangladesh Railway, along with the consultant organizations – Oriental Consultants Global Company Limited and Chodai Company Limited of Japan and Development Design Consultants Limited of Bangladesh in association with ACE Consultants Limited of Bangladesh – has already completed a detailed design of the railway bridge.
The state-run organization is now preparing the tender documents for the project. It is also constantly receiving construction supervision from its foreign and domestic consultants.
The Bridges Division, for the establishment of construction yards, offices and residential buildings for the staff of the railway project, has already provided 431.09 acres of land to Bangladesh Railway.
Following this, Bangladesh Railway has already appointed firms to establish construction yards and develop facilities for the employees, contractors, and engineers.
Additionally, the designs for the proposed station buildings on both sides of the river, railway bridge museum and inspection house are being prepared in real time.
The main project operations include the construction of a 4.8km long dual-gauge double-track bridge, construction of a 7.6km long double-line railway approach embankment, erection of 30.73km dual-gauge railway track, construction of 16 railway approach viaducts, minor bridges and culverts, renovation and remodeling of Bangabandhu Bridge East and Bangabandhu Bridge West stations and yards.
According to the project documents, the dual-gauge double-track railway bridge will save at least 20 minutes of commute time as no train will have to wait for line crossing.
Also, only 38 trains can now travel on the Bangabandhu Bridge on a daily basis. But the construction of the Bangabandhu Railway Bridge will allow as many as 88 trains to operate every day.
Besides, the trains will run at a speed of 100kmph to 120kmph on the railway bridge compared to the present speed of 10kmph on the Bangabandhu Bridge.
This will also give the authorities the option to increase the number of both passenger and freight trains, which is expected to develop the country’s rail services and strengthen regional connectivity.
Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan said: “The Bangabandhu Railway Bridge will speed up and better our train services in terms of passenger-carrying capacity. It will also help to boost the economy of the northern region of the country.
“The bridge will also improve our connectivity with such neighboring countries as India, Nepal, and Bhutan.”
“We have a plan to launch a new train service between Bangladesh and India through the Panchagarh-Siliguri route,” he added.