With the last span installed yesterday, the long wait for the Padma Multipurpose Bridge is now almost over.
The 6.15 km long bridge has two-storeys. The single-track rail line will run through the steel spans, while vehicles will ply on the upper deck. The road will be 22 meters wide and have four lanes.
The pre-feasibility study of the bridge project was conducted by Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) in 1998-1999 with Bangladesh government's fund. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) did the feasibility study during 2003-2005.
In 2007, Padma Bridge project was passed in Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC). The initial cost was estimated at around Tk10 thousand crore. After three budget amendments, the expenditure currently stands at little over Tk30 thousand crore.
The biggest hurdle to the bridge project came in 2012 after World Bank cancelled its credit showing corruption allegations involving Bangladeshi officials. The same year, Bangladesh government decided not to take loan from any funding agencies and to complete the project with own fund.
On 17 June 2014, Bangladesh signed an agreement with a Chinese firm named China Major Bridge Engineering Company Ltd. The work on the bridge began in the same year.
The first span of the Padma Bridge was installed in 2017. The other 40 spans were placed in about three years and two months' time.
The two banks of Padma river have already been connected, but the wait for the bridge to be opened to traffic will last at least until December next year.