The construction of the Lebukhali bridge over the River Payra in Patuakhali will connect Kuakata sea beach and Payra port to the northern part of the country, which is expected to boost all businesses, including export-import and tourist industries, in the area.
The Kuakata Restaurant Owner's Association hopes their business would be doubled after the bridge is formally opened for all. People associated with the transportation sector of the region said the bridge would decrease the travelling time between Barishal and Kuakata by at least one or two hours.
Hotel and resort owners said it takes three to four hours for tourists to reach Kuakata from Barishal but after opening the bridge, it will not take more than two hours.
Inaugurated in 2013, the construction of the bridge started on 24 July 2016 and was supposed to be completed in April 2019, said Payra Bridge Project Engineer Abdul Halim, adding that it is expected to be opened in August.
Motaleb Sharif, the secretary of the Kuakata Hotel Owners' Association, said, "We believe the bridge will increase the rush of tourists at Kuakata sea beach round the year. The inauguration of the Padma bridge will bring the beach closer to the capital."
Alamin Hossain, the manager of Shikder Resort at Kuakata beach, said they have to send cars for receiving their guests from the launch ghat in Barishal. Quite often their cars are stuck at the ferry ghat where they have to wait for more than one hour, creating sheer inconvenience for tourists. The bridge would relieve this suffering to a great extent.
On the other hand, as the bridge is directly connected with the Payra port, all exporters and importers in Barishal can conveniently operate their businesses through the port, said Sydur Rahman Rintu, the president of the Barishal Chamber of Commerce Industry.
Mizanur Rahman, the chairman of Fortune Group and a leading exporter of Barishal, "The bridge, which was the dream of the people of the southern region, is now real. Many entrepreneurs will be interested to invest in Kuakata sea beach. Payra port will be more utilised because of the bridge."
The four-lane bridge is 1.47-kilometre-long and 19.7-metre-wide. Approach roads have been constructed on seven kilometres on both sides of the bridge. The Chinese company, Longjian Road and Bridge Company Limited has constructed the bridge at Tk1,444 core.