Vehicles will able to ply on the 6.15km-bridge after the slabs are paved with asphalt
All of the 2,917 roadway slabs of the Padma Bridge have been installed, which means vehicles will be able to travel the bridge’s full length without any interruption after it is paved with asphalt.
The final roadway slab was installed on Monday, said the project’s Executive Engineer Dewan Abdul Kader.
“The final slab between Pier No. 12 and 13 was placed around 10.20am while two others were installed the previous night,” he said.
According to project documents, as of July 2021, the progress of construction work of the main bridge stands at 93.5% while that of river training work stands at 83.5%.
Paving the roadway slabs with asphalt had started this July but due to heavy monsoon rains, the project authorities were forced to postpone the work.
Executive Engineer Kader told Dhaka Tribune last week that they had paved at least 60 metres of the bridge with asphalt last month. “However, due to the monsoon season, we had to stop. We are hopeful of resuming carpeting work from November-December.”
Meanwhile, installation of railings, street lights, and bitumen molding on top of the road slabs is expected to be finished by January-February, 2022, according to officials.
The rest of the work, such as road surface marking and putting up traffic signs, is expected to be completed between March and May 2022, as the government plans to open the Padma Bridge for public use in June, Bangladesh Bridge Authority Chief Engineer Quazi Mohammad Ferdous told Dhaka Tribune last week.
“Once all the slabs are installed, all forms of vehicles will be able to easily travel the whole length of the bridge. Besides, all the railway slabs – in total 2,959 – have already been installed,” Ferdous added.
Some 24,000 vehicles to cross Padma Bridge every day
In 2009, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) conducted a study on how many vehicles would cross the Padma Bridge annually.
The findings stated that if the bridge was inaugurated at the start of 2022, then in that year, on average, around 24,000 vehicles would cross the bridge every day.
Of those vehicles, 8,238 are predicted to be buses, 10,244 trucks, and 5,000 microbuses and cars.
As per ADB findings, by 2025, the number of vehicles crossing the bridge will be 27,800 per day.
By 2030 the number will go up to 36,785 and in 2040, the number of vehicles crossing the bridge daily will stand at 51,807.
Around 67,000 vehicles on average could cross the bridge every day of 2050.
The Bridges Division had earlier re-fixed the target for opening the bridge to traffic in December 2021, to mark the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence.
But the plans hit a snag following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March last year.
The PMBP has missed deadlines three times – 2014, 2018, and 2019.
The project has involved costs to the tune of Tk301.19 billion.
The Padma Bridge is expected to boost the country's GDP by 1.2% once it is opened to the public.