New Delhi: On Saturday, Bangladesh’s longest bridge Padam bridge was inaugurated by PM Sheikh Hasina. The 6.15-km-long road-rail four-lane bridge is built over the Padma river. The bridge now connects 21 districts of Bangladesh’s Southwest region with Dhaka and the rest of the country and it also promises to decrease travel time from Kolkata to Dhaka.
The multipurpose road-rail bridge, which is fully funded by the Bangladesh government, has been constructed at a cost of $3.6 billion. It is being reported that the bridge will reduce the travel time significantly between the capital city of Dhaka to the Mongla seaport, which is an important location for regional and international trade.
The Padma Bridge stretches to a total distance of 10.642 km including 41 spans that have been attached to 42 pillars. Each pillar has a distance of 150 m between them with a pilling that goes as deep as 128 m. This is also being claimed as the deepest pilling in the world and interestingly, it has been ranked 122nd longest in the world.The inauguration of the Padma bridge carries a lot of significance as the structure was built entirely with domestic financing, defying speculations by some financial analysts if Bangladesh could mobilise the fund depending on domestic resources.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed deep gratitude to the people involved with the construction of the Padma bridge. “I have no complaints against anyone, but I reckon those who opposed the Padma Bridge construction plan and called it a ‘pipe dream’, lack self-confidence. I hope this bridge will boost their confidence,” the prime minister said.The Bangladesh government stated that the completion of the Padma Bridge is a dream come true for 170 million people in the country. “The Bangladesh government has set an example for other countries in South Asia by constructing the bridge with its own money which will no doubt encourage other countries to come forward in order to develop good regional connectivity by taking on more projects like this,” stated a Bangladesh PMO official.
PM further said, “This bridge is not just bricks, cement, iron, and concrete… This bridge is our pride, a symbol of our capacity, our strength, and our dignity. This bridge belongs to the people of Bangladesh.” India’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami praised this infrastructural development calling this bridge a connector of people and culture and not just a route to business.
The construction of Padma Bridge began in 2015 and the last span of construction was completed in December of last year. The Padma Bridge project witnessed several engineering wonders as well as technological challenges. It emerged as the wonder structure for Bangladesh and saw the use of state-of-the-art machinery and know-how.