The work of much-anticipated Padma Bridge witnessed a major development yesterday, as construction of all 294 piles of the bridge were completed by last night.
“There were complications over several piers. With the completion of boring of the last pile, there is no major problem [in the project],” Project Director Shafiqul Islam told The Daily Star yesterday.
The 6.15km bridge would have a total of 42 piers, and each pier would have six or seven piles, except for the first and 42nd pier.
Work for boring the seventh pile of 26th pier started at around 11:35am yesterday and was completed shortly after 10pm, engineers said.
Work of bottom section of the pile was completed on Wednesday, and the rest of the work was scheduled to start on Saturday.
However, the authorities had to change the date due to bad weather.
An engineer of the project said it usually takes 6-10 hours to complete boring of a pile. However, this pile took longer, the engineer, wishing anonymity, said.
Dewan Abdul Quader, an executive engineer of the project, said “We are feeling very relieved that the most challenging work of the Padma Bridge is coming to an end.”
“The pile driving work faced several challenges... But we are successful in our bid to win over the mighty Padma,” Abdul Quader told our Munshiganj correspondent.
Not only local and foreign officials and workers, but also people of the area expressed relief as the piling work was nearing its completion, our correspondent reported.
Piling work of the bridge started in 2014 but complexity arose over the design of 14 piers as differences emerged between the information obtained through geo-technical investigation in the design phase and construction phase.
“The soil profiles assumed in the design were slightly different from those during construction,” Prof Jamilur Reza Choudhury, chairman of the government’s panel of experts on Padma Bridge, told The Daily Star in January this year.
“It was found that in some places the clay layer is located 62 metres above that assumed in the design. However, the matter for all the piers had been resolved,” he had said.
Two major components of the project are the main bridge and river training.
Eighty-one percent work of the main bridge and 59 percent work of river training have been completed till June, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said recently.
Around 2,100 metre of the bridge is now visible as the 14th span (superstructure) was installed, he said. The first span of the bridge was installed on September 30, 2017.
Engineers involved with the bridge said works of 30 -- out of 42 -- piers have already been completed and the rest would be done within this year. Work to install span will go on concurrently, they said.
The bridge is expected to be opened to traffic within December next year, they added. Work of the main bridge was supposed to be completed by December last year.
The planning ministry extended the deadline to December 2019.
The project fell behind schedule after the World Bank withdrew its $1.2 billion loan in 2012 over allegations of corruption. The government denied the allegations and moved to build the bridge using its own funds.
Once constructed, the bridge will directly connect the capital to 21 southern districts through road and railways.