After overcoming myriad challenges, the 6.15-kilometre-long bridge shines across the River Padma.
But, the challenge to fully implement the project is not over yet. The river training will be the key challenge of the project in the coming days.
Prof M Shamim Z Bosunia, the chairman of the experts panel on the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project, said challenges had been there since the construction of the main bridge and river training kicked off.
"Sometimes there were erosions, sometimes construction work got stuck due to technical complications that led to modification of the bridge's design, but the project work did not come to a halt," said Shamim Bosunia, professor emeritus at University of Asia Pacific.
He said the Padma is one of the turbulent rivers in the world whose strong current and huge amount of silt posed problems from the beginning.
A former professor of civil engineering at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), Bosunia further said in the year following the start of work in November 2014, part of the construction site at Mawa point was washed away by the river.
Due to strong current in 2017, a deep canyon was formed at the bottom of Mawa River. Apart from this, erosion also occurred at different times at the end points of Mawa and Jajira – all led to the disruption to river training, he mentioned.
On 31 July this year, some parts of the construction area of Kumarbhog in Louhajong upazila of Munshiganj got damaged, the engineer said, adding that on that day, many goods in the construction yard were also washed away.
This problem will continue in the coming days, forecast the expert.
During the laying of the bridge pier in 2017, soft soil was found during soil test under 22 poles in the design. Then the design needed to be modified.
Initially, it was planned to place six piles (steel foundation deep in the ground) under each pier, but it was decided to amend the design and the number of piles was increased by one.
Due to this, the construction of the poles took a long time till March this year while the work lost some momentum.
The expert said 76% work relating to river training has been completed till November.
Even if the work of river training is done by the time the bridge is built, the river training challenge will not end at once.
"We also have to continue to work in the future."
According to him, so far all the spans have been installed but the upper slabs have yet to be set up. The connection of the main bridge with the approach road is also yet to be constructed.
Another big challenge will be to complete the remaining amount of work by December 16, 2021.
Prof Bosunia said: "Now, we have a lot of work left such as installing roadway slabs, of which 1,333 out of 2,917 have been installed, and railway slabs, of which 1942 out of 2,959 set up, bridge railings, street and architectural lighting, gas and power lines.
He said the authorities are in talks with contractors to complete the work on time, but the latters should not be pressured to finish the work as quickly as everyone expects.
"I think the attempt to start traffic on the main bridge on December 16, 2021 will be difficult."
The chairman of the government expert panel on the Padma Bridge Project said the problem has not left the authorities since the construction plan.
"We have been able to overcome the complexity created primarily with the funding issue because of confidence and efficient leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He said although there were some complications and challenges with the railway bridge, it was resolved quickly.
The work of Padma Bridge has come to this point with the initiative, efficiency and efforts of the bridge authorities, contractors and all concerned, he said, adding that now the rest of the work will end by facing all such challenges.
He thinks that in the light of previous experience, it will not be very difficult to face all upcoming difficulties.
Talking about tackling challenges concerning river training, Prof Bosunia said the Chinese Contractor SinoHydro Corporation is a skilled company, and they will be able to do this successfully.
"And in the future we will also be able to do all our tasks using our experience."