Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has laid down the foundation stone of the dedicated 4.8-km long double-line dual-gauge Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge over the Jamuna River on Sunday.
The premier attended the event virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence on Sunday.
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 this year. The new bridge will be able to run trains at a speed of 120 kmph on broad gauge line and 100 kmph on meter gauge track. With construction of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge, 88 trains will be able to run.
The project is scheduled to be completed by 2025.
Local staffers of the contractors are now preparing the construction site, fencing the site and building accommodation facilities for workers. A land-related dispute with the Bangladesh Bridge Authority for building a construction yard has already been settled.
Of the approved project cost of Taka 9,734.07 crore, Taka 7724.32 crore would come from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as project assistance and Taka 2009.75 crore from Bangladesh government exchequer.
Once built, the dual-gauge double-track bridge would be the largest dedicated rail bridge in the country.
The bridge would improve the capacity of Bangladesh Railway (BR) 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.
While visiting Tokyo on May 25-28, 2014 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requested Japan to fund for the project when she met Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Later, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also raised the issue when the Japanese Prime Minister visited Dhaka on September 6, 2014.