Padma Bridge

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1. Overview
Padma Bridge is one of major outstanding infrastructure required for balanced economic development of Bangladesh. It is anticipated that the gross domestic product of the would increase by 2 percent once the bridge was constructed. The bridge, which would connect the southwest region with the rest of the country, could be used for the trans-Asian route; the minister said adding "The Bridge will help gear up industrialisation in the region too."Environmental impact of the bridge would be assessed during the preparation of design. Government is endeavouring to start construction of the proposed Padma Bridge in 2011 to comple it by 2014. The bridge to be built at an estimated more than twenty thousand crore TK would be, the longest bridge in the country with 6.15km length and 25m width, he added. The bridge will have four lanes and a railroad in the middle. The bridge will also have a gas transmission pipeline, power transmission line and telecommunication cable. The Jamuna Multi-Purpose Bridge Authorities (JMBA) that looked after large bridge projects, in a study in 2005 estimated that 918. 76 hectares of land would be needed to be acquired on both the sides of Padma Bridge. The land acquisition cost is estimated at 3.2 billion taka (about 46 million U.S. dollars), said the study. According to a survey by JICA, nearly 30,000 people will lose their lands due to land acquisition for construction of the bridge. The 6.15 km long 22-metre wide, four lane bridge on the river Padma connecting Mawa (35km south of Dhaka) in Munshiganj with Jazira in Madaripur is also likely to contribute hugely to the functioning of the Mongla Port in Bagerhat, the second seaport of the country that fails to attract cargo ships owing to poor communications. The decision to construct the bridge was taken back in 2001 but dilly-dally over selecting the construction sites delayed the process.

2. INTRODUCTION

The three major rivers of Bangladesh - the Padma, Brahmaputra-Jamuna and the Meghna divide the country into four principal regions such as north-west, north central, eastern and south-west regions. The Padma River separates the South-west region from the capital city and requires time consuming ferry crossings to major destinations. At present, transportation of passengers and freight across the river is by ferries and to a lesser extent by launches and manually-operated boats, but their services are grossly inadequate in both capacity and service level. The existing ferry services involve long and unpredictable waiting time at terminals lacking basic service facilities. They are prone to suspension orcancellation due to flood, fog and inclement weather conditions.

The proposed Padma Bridge is expected to make cross-Padma transport more reliable and drastically reduce the travel time and cost across the river. The proposed bridge plans to build a multipurpose crossing with additional utilities like rail, telephone, gas and power lines across the Padma. It is designed to remove the last major physical barrier in the road connection between Dhaka and the South-west region of Bangladesh, where about one quarter of the population of Bangladesh is living. The bridge will shorten the distance from the South-west to Dhaka by 100 km and travelling time will considerably be reduced. The project is viewed as a very important infrastructure and transportation network, which will hugely facilitate social, economic and industrial development of this relatively underdeveloped region of the country. The padma Bridge will help to stimulate economic activity in the SW region by providing a reliable and rapid transport connection. It is estimated in the feasibility study that the project will increase the GDP by 1.2% and that of South-West Region by 2.3%. The Padma Bridge is on the Asian Highway Route A-1 and Trans-Asian Railway Route. When the railway will be effectively connected, the Padma Bridge will contribute to the multimodal...
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