Opening of the Shitalakhya Bridge will greatly help to improve the country’s road transport network by facilitating the transport of goods, alleviating traffic jams, and spurring the economic growth of rural areas by linking them to main roads.
Financed by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) through a soft loan of USD 45 million, the project has been launched to provide underserved people and communities across Bangladesh greater access to vital resources and all-important basic services.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally inaugurated the 1.29km bridge located in Narayanganj District on Monday (Oct 10). The bridge will establish link Bandar Upazila with the historic city of Sonargaon, said a press release.
The opening ceremony held at the Prime Minister’s Office, was also attended by Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Bangladesh, Essa Yousef Essa Alduhailan, Head of Operations in Asia of the Saudi Fund for Development Dr. Saud Alshammari and high government officials.
Officials said the newly constructed bridge will support the development of Bangladesh’s transport infrastructure. Comprised of four lanes — including designated lanes for pedestrians and separate lanes for vehicles — the development of Shitalakhya Bridge will contribute to the enhancement of Bangladesh’s transport infrastructure.
It will improve the country’s road transport network by facilitating the transport of goods, alleviating traffic jams, and spurring the economic growth of rural areas by linking them to main roads, they said adding “ultimately, it will raise the living standards of over two million Bangladeshi citizens and residents, in addition to bolstering the nation’s industrial and agricultural sectors.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed expressed her deep gratitude to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — represented by SFD — for its ongoing efforts to support the growth and development of Bangladesh’s infrastructure.
Apart from bypassing the Dhaka metropolis, the bridge will establish direct communication with the South and Southwest regions of the country and the East and Northeast regions due to the bridge’s connectivity. It will have an impact on reducing traffic congestion in Dhaka city.
”SFD supports road development projects that contribute to achieving the sustainable development goals by strengthening the integration of road networks, raising the level of safety of their use, and reducing transportation costs. Through this project, we seek to support the infrastructure network in Bangladesh, support social and economic development, enhance trade and transit, and reduce traffic congestion,” Dr. Saud Alshammari commented.
“This project will lay the groundwork for a brighter future for the people of Bangladesh, advancing social progress and creating economic opportunities that will benefit the country and wider region in the long run.”
Since 1977, SFD has financed 16 projects in Bangladesh by providing 17 soft loans estimated at more than 494 million USD.
These projects have been launched and implemented to bolster a range of vital industries and fields, including the water, health, energy, and transport sectors.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has also provided a grant — estimated at over 107 million USD — to Bangladesh to help it overcome the challenges and damages caused by natural disasters.