The four-lane bridge with 391 metres length and 18.4 metres width was inaugurated by late Finance Minister M Saifur Rahman on February 5, 2006, with the planned length of 366 metres and width 19 metres and it was supposed to be completed by June, 2007 at a cost of Tk 36 crore. Nearly 18 per cent of the work was done in eight months before the BNP-led government’s tenure ended on October 27, 2006. No major headway was made during the seven years of the military-backed caretaker and immediate past Awami League-led governments, local people and official records said.
A Roads and Highways Department official said, “The construction work remained totally suspended for four years between 2007 and 2011 due to the unavailability of funds. In its five-year tenure since January 25, 2009, what the AL-led government did was re-fixing the bridge’s length at 391 metres and width at 18.4 metres,”
In the meantime, the cost increased four times to Tk 144 crore from Tk 36 crore because of ‘increase in prices of construction materials and land as well as re-fixing of its design.’
A section of the locals remained unsure about reaping projected benefits from the construction of this bridge.
A top official of Roads and Highway Department informed that. The new bridge is expected to be inaugurated anytime after April as hundred per cent work of the super structure and most of the workload related to the structures has already been finished,
Construction work of the bridge over Surma river, link roads on both sides and walkway on the bridge have already been finished while instalment of lamp posts and others will be finished very soon, he said.
Abdur Rahman, a businessman at Kazir Bazar area, apprehended people may not be benefited from the mega structure as expected.
“And the authorities concerned will have to face a number of problems, if they want to develop the road into four lanes as many important institutions are situated on both sides of the road have to be demolished,” he added.
, Executive Engineer of Roads and Highways Department Sheikh Monirul Islam told that “Work of the structure and around 90% of the northern approach’s construction have been completed. As for the southern approach, the Ministry has started demolishing structures erected on acquired lands and the construction there will begin soon.”
“All remaining work of the bridge will be finished before April 30 as most of the workload have already been finished,” he viewed.
He also said the bridge has been constructed with a four-lane design considering the future plan, although link roads are two lanes only.