Design deal signed for Padma Bridge
The government yesterday signed an agreement with the New Zealand-based consultant firm Maunsell AECOM Ltd for preparing the design of the Padma Bridge.
The first major contract signed by the Awami League-led government after three weeks of taking office is also a significant step towards fulfilling the long-awaited desire of the people of 19 southwestern districts to get connected with the capital.
The 5.58km long and 25m wide bridge on the Padma will connect the country's southwest with Dhaka at Mawa in Munshiganj and Janjira in Madaripur. The construction of the bridge with four lanes and a railroad in the middle is expected to start in 2011 and complete within 2014.
According to the agreement, Maunsell will start working on the design in 28 days and finish within the next 22 months.
As per experts' estimate Tk 10,161 crore will be spent to build the bridge, of which around Tk 131 core just to complete the design. Environmental impact of the bridge will be assessed during preparation of the design.
Greg Klamus, director (infrastructure) of Maunsell AECOM, and Md Rafiqul Islam, director of Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project, signed the agreement at the office of the Bridge Division. Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain and representatives from World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation were present there.
After the signing ceremony, Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain told reporters that the gross domestic product (GDP) of the southwest region will increase by 2 percent once the bridge is constructed and it will add 1.2 percent to the national GDP.
The bridge could also be used as part of the trans-Asian route, he said, adding, "The bridge will help gear up industrialisation in the region too."
It will also contribute hugely to the functioning of the Mongla Port, the lone seaport in the southern region that fails to attract cargo shipment because of poor communications.
Earlier on January 13, Maunsell AECOM was selected for designing the bridge as it scored the highest in the government's evaluation.
People of Gopalganj, Faridpur, Madaripur, Shariatpur, Narail, Jessore and Khulna have long demanded a bridge over the Padma and a decision to construct a bridge was taken back in 2001. However, time passed in selecting the construction sites.
Ministry sources said the process for land acquisition for the bridge's construction sites has started in Munshiganj, Madaripur and Shariatpur. "Initially, 755 hectares of land will be acquired," said engineer Qazi Md Ferdous, executive engineer of the Bridge Division.
A total 12.6km approach road on Mawa side and 11.95km road on Janjira side will be constructed for the bridge while river training work will be done on 16.5km stretches of the rivers banks--6km on one side and 10.5km on another.
Communications ministry officials said the government is negotiating with donors like the World Bank, ADB and Japan Bank for International Cooperation for financial assistance for constructing the bridge.