Corona slows down Padma Bridge work
Authorities set new deadline Project cost to see another increase
A crane is seen installing a span on the pillar of the under construction Padma bridge site in this file photo.
Special Correspondent :
The construction work of the much-hyped Padma Bridge may not be completed by the end of June next year due to coronavirus fallout.
The authorities have set a new deadline to complete it by December 2021, as the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down the construction work, officials said.
They said that the missing of the previous deadline (June 2021) would also increase the cost of the bridge project, which already rose to Tk 30,193 crore following several revisions. Once completed, the 6.15km bridge will connect the capital with 21 southern districts and is expected to boost Bangladesh's gross domestic product by 1.2 percent
Since the bridge's construction work started in November 2014, various obstacles have come to the fore, most of which are natural. Despite the hurdles, work of the bridge does not stop, officials said, adding, after the installation of the last span number 31, more than 4.5 kilometers of the
bridge has become visible.
The strong currents in the Padma and the excessive silt and soils have repeatedly hampered the construction of the dream bridge. And the latest hurdle is the coronavirus. In this situation, the authorities have set a new deadline to complete the bridge's construction by 2021.
About one thousand Chinese citizens are working for China Major Bridge Company, which entrusted the task with the construction of the country's longest bridge.
Among them, 332 engineers and technicians were stranded in China in February due to corona and this has reduced the pace of the construction work, officials said.
Four months after the first corona patient was identified in the country, the situation has not improved much. Besides, accommodation has also been arranged for engineers and workers from home and abroad in the project area. Even then the pace of the bridge's construction work is yet to get normal.
Shafiqul Islam, Project Director of Padma Bridge, said, "Coronavirus outbreak is disturbing the construction work of the bridge. That is why we have to reschedule. We don't know when we get rid from the pandemic. So, it is difficult to say exactly how long it will take to complete the bridge's construction. We will try best to complete the bridge by 2021.
Engineers said, they face huge challenge to install the spans due to strong current in the Padma in this rainy season. The speed of the current is 2.25 meters per second. But the capacity of the span-carrying crane is 1.52 meters. So it is difficult to put span in the river till the end of monsoon.
Shafiqul Islam further said that the target to complete the work of Padma Bridge was June 2021. As part of that we had planned to install all the spans by June this year. There are still 10 spans to be installed. As per new work schedule all the spans could be placed by December.
The overall progress of the project was 80.5 percent as of June this year and the physical progress of the main bridge and river training were 89 percent and 73 percent respectively.