>Padma bridge designing begins in 4 weeks

>THE government today signed an agreement with New Zealand-based consultant firm Maunsell AECOM for preparing the design of Padma bridge.

According to the agreement, Maunsell will start working on the design within 28 days and finish by December 2010.

Greg Klamus, director (infrastructure) of Maunsell Limited, and Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, director of Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project, signed the agreement at the Bridge Division office.

After the agreement was signed, Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain said the gross domestic product of the southwest region would increase by 2 percent once the bridge was constructed.

The bridge, which would connect the southwest region with the rest of the country, could be used for the trans-Asian route, the minister said adding “The bridge will help gear up industrialisation in the region too.”

Environmental impact of the bridge would be assessed during the preparation of design.

Earlier on January 13, the minister said construction of the proposed Padma bridge would start in 2011 and be completed in three years.

He had also said an estimated Tk 10,161 crore would be spent on the bridge, which will be the longest bridge in the country with 5.58km length and 25m width, he added. The bridge will have four lanes and a railroad in the middle.

The bridge on the river Padma connecting Mawa in Munshiganj with Jazira in Madaripur is also likely to contribute hugely to the functioning of the Mongla Port in Bagerhat, the second seaport of the country that fails to attract cargo ships owing to poor communications.

The decision to construct the bridge was taken back in 2001 but dilly-dally over selecting the construction sites delayed the process.

Communications ministry officials said the government is negotiating with donors like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation for financial assistance for constructing the bridge.


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