Work on the country’s biggest dedicated railway bridge over the Jamuna River has kicked off.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of the 4.8-km double-line dual-gauge Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge from her official residence Ganobhaban through videoconferencing on Sunday morning.
Speaking on the occasion, she said steps have been taken to modernise, develop and diversify the country communications system to expedite the economic development.
The prime minister said the construction of the railway bridge is a great challenge. “If we can connect with the Asian Highway and Railway networks, Bangladesh’s importance will rise many times. The economy will be vibrant once there is communication.”
This will also bring people’s financial solvency, she said.
Mentioning that BNP wanted to destroy the railway, Sheikh Hasina said the present government wants to spread the railway network throughout the country.
The main bridge will be constructed under two packages. Two separate agreements have already been signed with Obayashi-TOA-JFE, Japan and IHI-SMCC JV, Japan for eastern and western part of civil works respectively.
As per the agreements, land was handed over to the both contractors in July last. The new bridge will be able to run trains at a speed of 120 kph on broad gauge line and 100 kph on metre gauge track. With the construction of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge, 88 trains will be able to run.
The project is scheduled to be completed by 2025.
Of the approved project cost of Tk 9,734.07 crore, Tk 7724.32 crore would come from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as project assistance and Tk 2009.75 crore from Bangladesh government exchequer.
Once built, the dual-gauge double-track bridge would be the largest dedicated railway bridge in the country.
The bridge would improve the capacity of Bangladesh Railway in operating more trains between the capital and western part of the country. It would also help reduce train delays, which are now common, officials said.