A motorcyclist will have to pay Tk100 to cross the Padma Bridge, while the toll is Tk2,400 for a large bus with three axles and Tk2,800 for a medium truck as the government has finalised the toll rates for the much-hyped project ready for a June opening.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges issued a gazette fixing the toll for a car or an SUV at Tk750; pickup van at Tk1,200; microbus at Tk1,300; minibus (up to 31 seats) at Tk1,400 and medium bus (32 seats or more) at Tk2,000.
In addition, the rate has been set at Tk1,600 for a mini truck (up to five tonnes); Tk2,100 for a medium truck (5-8 tonnes); Tk2,800 for a medium truck (8-11 tonnes); Tk5,500 for truck (up to three axle) and Tk6,000 for trailer (up to four axles). An additional Tk1,500 will be charged for each axle for a trailer larger than four axles.
According to the gazette, the toll rates will be effective from the day movement of vehicles on the Padma Bridge opens.
On 28 April, the bridges ministry sent a proposal of the toll rates to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for approval. According to the notification, the toll rates proposed by the Bridge Division have been approved by the Prime Minister's Office.
The toll rates mean the cost of crossing the bridge will be one and a half times the cost of crossing the River Padma on a ferry at present. And compared to the toll of the Bangabandhu Bridge – the country's second longest bridge, the rates will be almost double.
The government has announced that the Padma Bridge will be open to traffic by the end of next month. Now the last minute preparations are underway for the inauguration ceremony.
According to the Bridge Division, work is underway to construct murals and plaques for the official inauguration of the bridge. Two 40-foot tall murals are being erected at Mawa and Zajira points. The two murals will feature portraits of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Project officials said work is going on day and night with the aim of opening the bridge to traffic in June. They say the little work on the bridge now will be completed by next month.
The Bridge Division has appointed a toll collector and a contractor for the maintenance of the bridge. The jobs were awarded to the Korea Expressway Corporation (KEC) and China Major Bridge Engineering Company (MBEC), which is currently working on the construction of the main bridge and the KEC as a consulting firm.
For the next five years, these two organisations will introduce modern methods of toll collection, and traffic management at both ends of the bridge.
With the launch of the Padma Bridge, 19 districts in the south and southwest of the country will be directly connected to the rest of the country. As a result of the construction of the expressway on the Dhaka-Bhanga road earlier, the travel time on this route will be reduced to one hour, said officials at the Roads and Highways Department.
The project authorities have announced the progress of the Padma Bridge project till last Monday. According to the report, work on the main bridge has progressed 98% till Monday. The progress of river training is 92%. In all, the progress of the Padma Bridge project is 95%.
The length of Padma Bridge (main bridge) is 6.15km. The two-way flyover (viaduct) is 3.8km. In all, the length of the bridge is 9.83km.
Travelling through the Padma Bridge to the south and southwest of the country will be easier and time will be reduced.
In addition to facilitating movement, the Padma Bridge will have a positive impact on the economy.
According to a survey, once the Padma Bridge project is implemented, the gross domestic product (GDP) will increase at the rate of 1.23%. The GDP of the south-western region of the country will grow by 2.3%.