The Padma bridge project authorities installed another span on Monday amid the shutdown enforced to limit the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
With the installation of the 29th span, 4,350 metres of the much-hyped Padma Bridge was now visible, said Project Director Shafiqul Islam.
He said the 29th span among total 41 was posted on pillars19 and 20 of the bridge at the Munshiganj point around 10.45 am. Another span will be installed between pillar no 25and 26pillar this month. Yet another span will be installed next June.
Earlier, the 28th span was installed on April 11, and the 27th span on March 28.
According to the Padma Bridge authorities, 12 more spans are yet to be installed to make the whole 6.15-km Padma Bridge visible.
For 2019-20 fiscal year, the government initially earmarked around Tk5,371crore for the project, but the allocation dropped to Tk4,015 crore in the revised Annual Development Programme (ADP). Till April, the authorities could spend Tk2,785 crore which was 69.36 percent of the revised ADP.
The Padma bridge project was initiated in July 2007 with an estimated cost of Tk10,162crore and was supposed to be completed by August 2015. But work actually began in 2014 after a long delay. The project cost, in the meantime, went up several times to stand finally at Tk30,193crore.
The Bridges Division has spent Tk22,209crore, which is 73.55 percent of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project's total budget till April 2020, with overall progress being 79 percent.
The Bridges Division wants to utilise Tk5,000crore for the fast-track project from the upcoming fiscal year's (2020-21) ADP, but spending the money has become a challenge in the present context.
The project director said some Chinese workers came back to Bangladesh but around 2,000 more were yet to return. Besides, they still do not know how long the lockdown will continue.
"Even though we have arranged adequate safety measures, many foreign consultants have gone back to their countries while many are waiting to leave. As a result, the project is not progressing," he added.
Once completed, the Padma Bridge, Bangladesh's largest infrastructure project till date, will connect 21 southern districts with the capital and boost the GDP by 1 percent.