Dhaka, Aug 23: The government has initiated a move to construct an eye-catching Taka 3,263.63 crore steel arch bridge over River Brahmaputra in Mymensingh in order to establish improved road connectivity among the northern districts of Mymensingh with the capital.
Following proposal from the Roads and Highways Department under the Road Transport and Highways Division, the Planning Commission has already processed a draft project to this end titled “Construction of Kewatkhali Bridge in Mymensingh”.
“The draft project will be placed before the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) meeting tomorrow,” said a senior Planning Commission official. ECNEC Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will preside over the meeting.
The proposed project aims to reduce congestion and improve mobility and connectivity by addressing the cross-river bottleneck between Mymensingh and Shambhugonj on the Dhaka-Mymensingh-India corridor.
Talking to BSS, Physical Infrastructure Division Member of the Planning Commission Md Mamun-Al-Rashid said that this would be a steel arch bridge, first of its kind, and also would be eye-catching.
“Once the bridge is completed, it will improve the communication system among the districts of Netrakona, Sherpur with other parts of Mymensingh and also with the capital. The travel time will be further reduced while the passengers would be able to travel with ease and comfort,” he added.
Mamun said it now takes around 34 minutes to cross the 6 kilometer road adjacent to the bridge location, but with the completion of the new bridge, the travel time would be reduced to 5 to 5.30 minutes much to the relief and comfort of the passengers.
The Planning Commission Member, also a Secretary to the government, said since Mymensingh is a new Division, the proposed bridge would definitely improve communication as well as boost the economic activities there.
The project also seeks to ease traffic congestion in the Mymensingh City by diverting traffic away from the city’s central area via the construction of the Kewatkhali Bridge over the Brahmaputra River at Mymensingh with the overpasses and approach road.
The official told BSS that out of the total project cost, Taka 1,353.83 crore will come from the government of Bangladesh portion while the rest of Taka 1,909.79 crore as project assistance from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The bridge is expected to be completed by June 2025.
The Planning Commission official also informed that under the project, there will be a bridge, an overpass, a 6.2 kilometer four-lane road including separate SMVT lanes, in order to establish safe, improved and cost-effective communication system among the northern districts of Mymensingh Division (Sherpur, Netrakona) and with the capital.
Besides, the road communication to and from land-ports, EPZs, special economic zones situated in those areas with the Capital would be improved significantly.
The main project operations include construction of 2093 meter bridge foundation and substructure, 320 meter steel arch bridge superstructure, 1773 meter concrete bridge and construction of culverts, construction of a toll plaza, 33.02 hectares of land acquisition and rehabilitation, transfer of utilities, setting up drainage, road marking, sign-signal, barrier, rest areas and other necessary works.
Earlier, the Planning Commission recommended for implementing the project citing that it would expedite the potential economic operations, help boosting GDP growth, industrial development, attracting new investments, generating employments and thus improve the socio-economic conditions of people.