Padma Bridge work set to start in all earnest, minister says

He visits bridge construction yards
Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain said Friday the government was fully prepared to start the construction of the long-dreamt-of bridge across the Padma river.

“We are cent per cent ready to start the construction of the main bridge. We expect to select the contractor soon as there are no more problems in the bidding,” he told the FE after visiting two construction yards of the Padma Bridge project.

The minister said after receiving concurrence of the World Bank on July 1, the selection process of the construction contractor has been speeded up with a target to complete it by December.

He said the short-listed five international companies have already been notified of their selection and were given 15 days’ time to receive the tender documents from the authorities concerned.

“We have taken 15 days’ time to start tender as the foreign companies need it to complete necessary formalities in their home countries to come here,” the Communications Minister said at Mawa project office after the visit.

The minister along with Bridge Division Secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and Project Director Rafiqul Islam went to the construction yards at Mawa and Jajira points Friday to show the media their readiness in starting construction soon after the contractor appointment.

The visit has been also arranged soon after the World Bank released the evaluation report of the pre-qualification bidding on the 6.15 kilometre bridge that came to a halt for several queries delaying the tender process for nearly a year.

The World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency have given nod of approval to the evaluation reports of the Bangladesh Bridge Authority qualifying Sumsung C and T Corporation of Korea, China Major Bridge Engineering Co Ltd and Communications Construction Company of China and Daelim-BAM-VCI joint venture and Vinci-HCC joint venture of India to participate in the US$ 2.9 billion project.

Although the World Bank, the coordinating financier, is yet to approve the pre-qualification report of the river training work, the communications minister said they expected the endorsement of the financiers within 15 days.

He said tender document for the 12-kilometre approach road at Jajira side would be received on July 14 and the selection of the contractor for the work would be made within a month to start the work by this year.

The minister said the Padma Bridge would be the most sustainable bridge as its design has been examined several times by three European checking engineers and has been planned to tolerate earthquake up to 9 Richter scale.

“We have done relevant works on time and taken all related safety measures including 37 studies to make the bridge acceptable and perfect,” the minister said.

“The two construction yards have been developed instead of the usual practice of one to expedite the process of construction work,” he said adding that the bridge construction would be carried out simultaneously from both the points and from the middle to cover up time.

“We want now to complete the major portion of the bridge before the end of the government’s tenure,” Abul Hossain said.

Project officials said 80 hectares of construction yard at Mawa and 120 hectares at Jajira would be used for constructing slabs, truss and other materials for the main bridge and for storing necessary valuable machinery and equipment to be brought by the contract winner.

The minister also visited the two resettlement sites at Joshordia in Mawa and Kumarbhog in Shariatpur. The resettlement consultants and BBA officials said almost 70 per cent work of the four resettlement sites have been completed to rehabilitate 4000 families from both sides. The sites will have different kinds of plots with modern facilities like mosques, schools, community centres, markets, safety water tanks etc.


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