The authorities concerned have been urged to achieve the skill to implement a project within the schedule to reduce waste of public money
Bangladesh, like other countries, is witnessing the havoc being caused by the coronavirus pandemic which has interrupted all sorts of economic activities including infrastructural development projects.
For mega or fast-track projects that the government initiated years before and envisioned to complete within the scheduled time, the pandemic has come as a blow and compelled the authorities concerned to extend the deadline further.
However, amid the interruption, projects like Padma Bridge, metro rail, and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel, also known as Karnaphuli Tunnel, under the Karnaphuli River have got a shape in 2020.
The projects, which could bring a remarkable change in the country's communication network, are likely to be fully implemented within the new year or at best 2022.
On the other hand, mega projects like Padma Bridge Rail Link Project, Chittagong-Cox's Bazar Rail Link Project, and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) are progressing comparatively slowly.
Apart from these, authorities have also given priority over the two vibrant initiatives -- bus route franchising and sensor traffic system for Dhaka to bring discipline in the chaotic traffic system.
Transport expert Prof Shamsul Haque, however, viewed that although some priority projects have got shape now, these projects have already missed several deadlines.
"We should achieve the skill to implement a project within the schedule to reduce waste of public money," he said.
Likely to be opened
Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel
Country's longest bridge visible in 2020
The much-awaited Padma Bridge, a lifelong dream for the southern districts of the country, has become fully visible following the installation of its last span.
The Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project (PMBP) authorities installed the 41st and last span of the 6.15km-long bridge on December 10.
As of now, 82% of the total construction work has been done and 91% of the construction work of the main bridge is completed.
The country's longest bridge, which has been funded domestically, will connect the capital with 21 southern districts through road and railways.
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said the bridge is likely to be opened to traffic by June 2022.
The current deadline for the PMBP is June 2021, meaning that the project is going to see another revision for time extension. The project cost rose to Tk30,193 crore after several revisions.
Padma Bridge Rail Link Project
Construction work of the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project (PBRLP) is progressing with an aim to open traffic on the day of opening of the Padma Bridge.
However, according to the project officials, progress of the project is around 35%.
"The deadline for the 68km-long rail link project between Dhaka and Jessore has been set December 2024. But, we are trying to open a part of the project, from Mawa to Bhanga, during inauguration of the Padma Bridge," said Railway Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan.
"More than 50% of the construction work has been completed on this part," he added.
Half of the metro rail tracks visible
Despite the construction work of the metro rail project being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic for a few months, the works have gained momentum since May following some steps by the authorities.
MAN Siddique, managing director of the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), said metro rail construction work is progressing with an aim to open for traffic between Uttara to Agargaon on December 16, 2021, the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's victory in the Liberation War.
Altogether 53% of the project has been completed. Construction works of three stations out of nine between Uttara North and Agargaon have been almost done.
Construction of Bangabandhu Tunnel gaining momentum
Construction of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel, the first underwater road network in South Asia, has gained momentum after most of the foreign engineers and officials returned to their duty in Chittagong.
According to the progress report, the bore for installing a tube under the Karnaphuli River was completed on August 2, and boring for installing the second tube started on December 12. Each of the two tubes will have a two-lane road – making the tunnel a four-lane road.
The main tunnel's length is 3.5km, of which 2.5km is under the river. Boring work for 2.5km of one of the tubes, is already completed and the installation of the tube is underway.
Project Director Harun-or-Rashid said the boring work for installing the second tube has already started and the overall progress stood at 61%.
He told Dhaka Tribune that around 273 Chinese and 654 Bangladeshi engineers, officials and workers have been working in order to complete the project by December 2022.