Pabna's Hardinge Bridge is over 100 years old and it is still standing strong, reports UNB. The 1.8 km long bridge one of the country's historical attractions it is splayed over the Padma river and runs between the railway stations of Pabna's Paksey and Kushtia's Bheramara.
Those who have seen the bridge on their way over the Padma river are must have mesmerised with its beauty, but very few can imagine that it has completed its centenary on March 4, 2015. Even those who had guaranteed its centenary are no longer alive.
The steel railway bridge is one of the many British structures in the country. 138 years ago in 1889, the bridge plan was proposed by Eastern Bengal Railway for better rail communication of the Indian subcontinent, especially Assam, according to official records.
It took 20 years of talks to finally start its construction in 1910. A total of 24,400 construction workers worked till 1914 to complete the mighty bridge. A train had undergone a trial run on its down line on January 1, 1915, and the passenger trains went on operation two months later on March 4.
The bridge is also known as Paksey Bridge. However, it was initially named after Lord Hardinge, the then-viceroy of this continent who had inaugurated it.
Digging down wells, 15 trusses were founded weighing 1,250 tons each to build the bridge. While it took almost 300,000 bricks, three million tons of steel, 1,70,000 drums of regular cement and 1.2 million drums of kiln cement to complete the entire construction. The total amount of cost was Tk3,51,32,164.
Chief Engineer Robert William Gales was honoured with knighthood for his significant work for the design of the bridge and for its deepest base of that time.
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The restoration of the Hardinge Bridge was a symbol of overcoming challenges in the shortest time possible Courtesy
However, in 1971, the bridge was damaged by Pakistan army's air bombing – destroying the communication system from the northern region to the south. Later, it was reconstructed with joint efforts of India and Bangladesh Railways.
This bridge is not only historically but also economically significant to the people of Pabna. It has lived through critical historical changes in the region and now turned into one of the most popular tourist attractions of the country over time. Every day, many visitors gather there to enjoy the wonderful beauty of the bridge.