Padma Multipurpose Bridge
The river Padma has two looks – quiet and calm in winter, cruel and violent in summer. Padma thrives in the tongue of poets, in the vocal of singers and beyond everything in our heart. With our own funds prime minister Sheik Hasina inaugurated the Padma Bridge construction in December 12, 2015.
As a result, another golden chapter was written in the history of Bangladesh. On that day she inaugurated the river training works of Padma Bridge construction at Jajira point, Shariatpur and at Mawa, Munshiganj and number 7 piling construction of main bridge at Mawa circle in Munshiganj. Thus the construction of main bridge started officially.
Just after official inauguration of PM the piling of number 7 pillar begins in one kilometer inside river bed in Mawa. Driving of pillar into the river bed was driven by 10,000-ton hydraulic hammers came from Germany. Every six pilings will give birth one single pillar in the river bed. Padma Bridge will connect the two river banks of Padma based on those 42 pillars.
Padma Bridge is a key to solution to the diversified development of southern
region of Bangladesh. In April 2011, Bangladesh government signed an agreement
with World Bank and few other organizations such as ADB and Jaika for the fund. At first World Bank agreed to provide $1.2 billion for the project. However in June 2012, World Bank canceled its credit agreement in excuse of alleged corruption. It broke the dream of Padma Bridge for only a short period of time. Immediately Bangladesh government took a courageous initiative to construct the Padma Bridge with its own funds. Today Padma Bridge is on the verge of a successful completion. Eventually the commence of work orders have been released in November 2014 and started in December 2014. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the river training works for Padma Bridge construction at Jajira point in Shariatpur in December 12, 2015. On the same day she inaugurated the main bridge construction in Mawa.
Structure of Padma Multipurpose Bridge
The length of proposed Padma Bridge will be 6.15 km. When completed, it will be the longest road bridge.of Bangladesh. The bridge is being built in Mawa in Munshiganj and Janzira in Shariatpur. It will connect Louhajong in Munshiganj to Shariatpur and Madaripur district, linking northern and eastern regions to south-west of the country. The bridge will have a total of 42 pillars. Among which, 40 will be in the river and the two others will be in approach roads for connecting bridge.
Each will have 6 piles beneath in the river for every pillar, in total 240 piles. Twelve piles for each of the two pillars outside make 24 more piles. A total of 264 piles will be there. The length of piles will be 150 meter (the deepest of any bridge in the world) each where 120 meters will go deep underwater. Steel spans will be placed on the pillars. The bridge will have a total of 41 spans. The bridge will be a two storey structure. There will be a four-lane highway on upside and the
bottom will have rail line. Speed of the train will be 160 kilometers per hour. Total life-span of the bridge will be 100 years.
Padma Bridge is a name of dream. The Bridge will establish direct road communication between Dhaka and 21 southern districts of the country. The GDP growth rate will increase by more than 1%. Padma Bridge is a long awaited demand of the million people of southwest region. The international group turned back just when the commence of construction dream Bridge is about to start with earnestness of Bangladesh government. In June 2012, with the accusation of corruption World Bank followed by other donor organizations canceled their credit transfer. A blast of criticism followed immediately. Many thought dream of Padma Bridge construction died away. However, government of Bangladesh was so strict in decision that drives to build the Padma Bridge with own fund. After that in 2014, the work order of Padma Bridge construction was issued in August and the construction started in December. It was the most courageous decision in the history of Bangladesh.
The constructing process as follows;
a) Division of Construction work is into packages:
For the benefit of fast and smooth construction the project is broadly divided into six parts. Among them five are physical and one is supervisory work. The physical parts are as follows:
a) Main bridge: An agreement with China Major Bridge Engineering Co. Ltd, China was signed in
June 2014 for main construction work of Padma Bridge. The agreement was signed
for a period of 4 years+1 year (defect liability period). They were ordered to begin
construction in November of same year. The allotted amount for the main Bridge was BDT 12,133.39 crore. They started working from the next month. Up until January 2016, 17.27% of the work has been completed. Construction of main Bridge is supervised by Korean Express. The completion is expected within four
years from the starting date.
b. River Training: An agreement between China’s Sinohydro Corporation and Bangladesh Bridge
Authority was signed for the river training works. The agreement was signed for a
period of 4 years+1 year (defect liability period). The allotted contract cost is BDT
8, 707 crore. Starting from December 2014 the construction is now moving ahead that will be completed in 2018. Now the estimated work progress is 14 percent. Construction of river training work is supervised by Korean Express. 20,300 concrete blocks are being made every day for river training.
c. Jajira Link Road: Bangladesh’s Abdul Monem Ltd and Malaysia’s HCM Construction Ltd started the project of Jajira link road in October 2014. The agreement was signed for a period of 3 years+1 year (defect liability period). 10.5 kilometer long Jajira link road with Padma Bridge is approximately 59 percent completed. The allotted cost in this part is approximately BDT 1, 097 crore.
d. Mawa Link road: Bangladesh’s Abdul Monem Ltd and Malaysia’s HCM Construction Ltd jointly started the project of Mawa link road in January 2014. The construction of two kilometer long Mawa link road is also approximately 63 percent completed. The construction is supposed to completed in 2.5 years from the beginning that would be in July 2014. Bangladesh military is supervising the whole construction work. The allotted cost in this part is approximately BDT
e. Other Infrastructures: Other infrastructures include service area-2,
resettlement, land acquisition, engineering support etc. Progress of each of the
individual construction is satisfactory. 1, 408.54 hectre land has been acquired
from three districts of Munshiganj, Madaripur and Shariyatpur. 1, 270 out of 2, 592 plots have been handed over to the affected families. Tree plantation has beenstarted and 55150 nos. of tree plantation has been completed up to-date.
f. Supervision Work: Supervision of whole project is given to two companies named Korean Express and Bangladesh Army.
2. Technical aspects and Funding:
Technical aspects are handed over to some experienced foreign companies. The
most difficult thing in construction is piling underneath the river bed. The piles have been made in China and to drive those piles a number of hydraulic hammers were brought from Germany. Seven out of 42 pillars have been set. Every six pilings will give birth one single pillar. Every pillar will be 150 meter apart. 120m of the piles equals a 40-storey building will remain under water. Total length of a pile will be 150m. The river bed of Padma contains too much clay that limits its ncapacity to absorb much pressure. This is a reason of such deep piling.
Funding is main aspect in construction of Padma Bridge. Project cost is estimated
to be BDT 29000 crore. Ninety five percent of the total amount will be funded from national resources. BDT 27,428 crore will come from government fund and BDT 1, 365 crore will come from foreign help. The source of foreign help is mainly from Indian government. An agreement was signed between Bangladesh
and World Bank plus some other donor organizations in a sense that Bangladesh
does not have required fund. Crisis developed immediately when the donor organization led by World Bank cancelled the agreement.
However, with the courageous decision of Bangladesh government to construct Padma Bridge with its own funds cherished the dream of Padma Bridge.
A huge amount of foreign currency is required in building Padma Bridge. The reserve of foreign currency in Bangladesh bank is now beyond 28 billion. Additionally, the remittance sent by expatriates is more than 15 billion per year. Bangladesh bank is able supply the required amount of foreign currency for four
years without hampering the country’s economy. The largest infrastructure in the
history of Bangladesh starts walking with this assurance from former Bangladesh bank governor Atiur Rahman. Agrani Bank was given the responsibility to timely notify Bangladesh Bank for the required money.
The economic Importance:
When completed the Padma Bridge will connect 21 southwest districts with the capital Dhaka and eastern region. Other benefits are as follows –
1. Total Economic Development: A country’s economic development depends on its communication development. When Padma Bridge will be completed the
communication system between southwest districts and the whole country will also
be developed. It will enhance the economic development as a whole. A World Bank assessment shows, Padma Bridge will lead to a $6,000 million rise in GDP over 31 years from 2015. Its economic benefits will peak by 2032 with an annual return of about $300 million a year.
2. Improving Regional Cooperation: In addition to regional connectivity the Bridge
will also improve international communication. It will enhance the scope to increase regional cooperation between neighbouring states. The Padma Bridge will also connect Bangladesh with the proposed Trans-Asian Highway and
International Communication Network.
3. Industrial Development: Road communication is considered the life of industrial development. This is because a better transportation and communication system is a prerequisite for the availability of raw materials and to market the finished
products. So undeniably Padma Bridge will improve the industrial development.
4. Development of Farmer and Farming: Development of farmer and farming means development of country. The accessibility of good communication brought by Padma Bridge will play important role in the development of farming and farmers. It will help raise employment by 10.2 percent in the southwest region by boosting farming activities, especially vegetable production.
5. Internal Development: With the Padma Bridge country’s internal
communication system will be developed. The internal development will enhance flow of capital. It is favorable for the country’s economy. The people of the region will have better access to healthcare facilities and latest health technologies available at Dhaka. Easier communication will help expanding better education and training facilities and skill development will take place ensuring availability of quality manpower.
6. Employment Opportunities: Padma Bridge will help with the expansion of
industrialization, commercial activities and transport system. It will facilitate more
employment opportunities. As a result some people out of about two crore unemployed people of Bangladesh will get work.
7. Poverty Reduction: The bridge will reduce poverty by 1.9% a year at the national level, donor organizations assessment shows. As a result we will notice a change in the course of life of poor people.
8. River Bank Erosion:
River bank erosion is a common phenomenon. With the river training work for Padma Bridge more than 9,000 hectares of land will be
protected from riverbank erosion and flooding. The value of land saved will be at
least USD 156 million.
9. Decrease in Government Expense: The proposed Bridge will also help the
government cut 50 percent subsidies for ferry operation. With closure and/or reduction in operation of ferries, there will be additional savings, to the tune of about USD 400 million.
10. Development of Southwest Regions:
The southwest region of the country is
still underdeveloped. The transport and communication problem further accentuate
this problem. As per different organizations Padma Bridge will significantly contribute towards facilitating ultimate development of this relatively underdeveloped region with a population of over 30 million.
The Latest Condition of Padma Bridge
The construction of Padma Multipurpose Bridge is progressing smoothly. Even the
political instability could not hamper the progress of this project.The construction
is running with a full vigor with an aim to fly the vehicles on Padma Bridge by the end of 2018. About 40% of the whole project including main Bridge, river training and link roads is already completed. Starting from 12 December 2015, 17.27% of the construction of the main Bridge has been completed. Other works including
accommodation of contractors, office laboratory, work shed, accommodation of
workers and construction of jetty is also progressing simultaneously.
Steel fabrication for piling is going on in workshop. The link road construction in Jajira point is going on rapidly. The link road is expected to be completed by June 2016. 59% of the construction of Jajira link road is completed till now. The link road construction in Mawa point is also going on simultaneously, which is expected to be completed by July 2017. 63% of the construction of Jajira link road is completed till now. River training work is also going on that will be completed by November 2018.
Land acquisition processing is near to complete. Resettlement of affected people for the project is continuing. Till now 65% people have been resettled. With an alleged corruption WB abandoned the Padma Multipurpose Bridge project. Where the World Bank did not provide the proposed loan for constructing the Bridge their walkout in excuse of conspiracy and corruption evoked an embarrassing situation for the nation. However, the government took it as a challenge after taking the decision in pursuit of constructing the Bridge with own fund.
Construction of Padma Multipurpose Bridge with own fund was a courageous initiative of Bangladesh government. It proves our valor and strength and inspires us to come out of dependency that will help us to take bigger projects in future independently.
An Essay of “Padma Multipurpose Bridge”
Written and Completed By:Mahbub Hossain Mukul(I have been physically involved in the Mega project since April 2014 till Sep 2017)