The first span of the bridge was installed in September 2017
With the installation of its last span, the long-awaited Padma Multipurpose Bridge will become fully visible on Thursday, making it a momentous day for the country.
The Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project (PMBP) authorities are set to install the 41st span of the 6.15km long bridge on Thursday if the weather remains favourable and no technical problem occurs.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader earlier said: “The last span will be installed by Thursday. With the installation of the 41st span, a total 6.15km of the double-deck dream bridge will become visible.”
According to PMBP officials, the 41st span (2-F) will be installed on pillars 12 and 13 at the Mawa end. All necessary preparations have been taken in this regard.
More than 81% of the total construction work has been done and 91% of the construction work of the main bridge is complete, officials told Dhaka Tribune.
How much work is still left?
The first span of the bridge was installed in September 2017, and three years later, work is underway to install the last span. Installation of prefabricated slabs over the spans is also underway to prepare the bridge for traffic.
Prof Shamim Z Bosunia, chairman of the government’s expert panel on the PMBP, said there was still a lot of work to be done after the installation of the spans.
“Around 3,000 slabs need to be installed over the spans. And the rail track needs to be set up simultaneously because it won’t be possible to install them after the slabs are put in place,” he added.
He continued: “As far as I know, it will take 22 months to install the railway sleepers, but the contractor has been instructed to do it in two shifts per day in order to finish the work within 11/12 months.
“After the slabs are installed, concrete casting, road division and road marking need to be done simultaneously.”
When will the bridge be opened for traffic?
Obaidul Quader on Monday said it would take 10-12 months to complete other remaining works of the Padma Bridge after the installation of the last span.
However, the Bridges Division projected that the total construction of the bridge would likely be done in mid-2022.
The current deadline for the project is June 2021, meaning that the project is likely to see another revision for time extension. The project cost rose to Tk30,193 crore after several revisions.
With the extension of the deadline comes the possibility of an increase in cost. The Bridges Division, however, thought the cost would not escalate again. As of September 30, Tk23,796.24 had been spent on the project.
The construction of the bridge began in November 2015, with a view to connecting the country's south-western region with the capital via road and rail. Once in service, the 6.15km bridge will connect the capital with 21 south-western districts. It is expected to boost the country's gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.2%.
Obaidul Quader had previously, however, stated that GDP would increase by 1.50%-2% after the completion of the bridge.
The long-anticipated Padma Bridge is expected to change the socioeconomic structure of southern Bangladesh and have a positive effect on the country’s economy.
It will also connect many countries of South and Southeast Asia and contribute to communication, trade, industry, tourism and many other sectors in various ways.