The design flaws of the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project are yet to be fully solved after the detection of two major faults in the rail link’s original design four months ago.
‘The Padma Multipurpose Bridge project authorities have accepted our modified design of the rail link project for the Janjira point while we are yet to submit the draft revised design for the Mawa point,’ said PBRLP director Golam Fakhruddin Ahmed Chowdhury on Thursday.
Currently, the construction work of the two fast-track projects — the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project and the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project — are going on.
In September 2020, PMBP officials raised questions about the faults in the rail link project which they identified as ‘black spots’, where too many accidents were feared to take place.
They pointed out that the design prepared by the Railway stipulated inadequate heights, between 4.8 and 5.2 metres, at the two entry points of the rail link instead of the standard height of 5.7 metres, making it impossible for the vehicles with more than the average height, such as trucks and lorries, to pass through with ease.
They also pointed to the inadequate horizontal clearances of the rail bridge which were shown to be 9.5 metres at the Janjira point and 10 metres at the Mawa point instead of the ideal horizontal length of 15.5 metres.
On September 16, 2020, the Cabinet Division directed both the railway and bridge authorities to solve the problem and on September 24 planning minister MA Mannan and railways minister Nurul Islam Sujan visited the project site.
Golam Fakhruddin said that they had already sent a revised design of the rail link for the Janjira side to the Padma Bridge project office which had accepted it with no objection.
‘We have already started the construction work there,’ he said.
He also said that they would send the rail link’s revised design for the Mawa point to the Padma Bridge project office soon.
The Bangladesh Bridge Authority under the Bridges Division of the road transport and bridges ministry is implementing the 6.15-kilometre-long double-decked Padma Multipurpose Bridge to connect Dhaka with the southwestern part of the country at a cost of Tk 30,193 crore.
The Bangladesh Railway under the railways ministry is setting up the 169-kilometre-long rail link between Dhaka and Jashore with Tk 39,246 crore.
The Padma Bridge will have four lanes for vehicular traffic on the upper deck and a single broad-gauge railway track on the lower deck, according to the Padma Bridge rail link project office.
On September 24, 2020, the railways minister said that the entire Padma rail link project was scheduled to be completed by June 2024 while they would run trains on the Mawa–Bhanga section when the Padma Bridge would be opened to the traffic.
Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader on January 3 said that the Padma Multipurpose Bridge would be ready for use by June 2022.
As of Thursday, the Padma Bridge construction progress was 92 per cent while the overall project progress was 82.5 per cent till November 2020, according to the project office.
On the other hand, the overall progress of the Padma Bridge rail link project was 28.23 per cent till November 2020, added the office.