The Financial Express

Padma bridge design fault in rail, road link yet to be resolved

BBA rejects BR's new design citing lack of standard horizontal clearance

| Updated: October 24, 2020 18:19:06

Xinhua file photo Xinhua file photo

Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) has rejected the Bangladesh Railway's (BR) revised design of height clearance between approach roads and elevated rail tracks of Padma bridge.

Sources said the BBA considered that the new design does not have the required horizontal clearance (HC) of 15.5 metres.

The fresh design has the provision for 11.5 metres of horizontal gap between two piers at Mawa side approach road and 12.5 metres at Janjira side.

Sources said the design, however, meets the requirement of vertical clearance (VC) of 5.7 metres, increasing it from earlier 5.1 metres.

According to sources, the BR prepared the design in consultation with Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and consultants of Padma Bridge Rail Link (PBRL) project.

The BR argued that it could not increase the HC further as the pile works of the piers have already been done and that at least four piers will have to be reconstructed if it has to meet the HC requirement.

It would then push up the project cost and delay the construction of the rail track, it said. It may also delay the opening of the road and rail on the same day of the inauguration of the Padma Bridge as directed by the Prime Minister.

But, the BBA remained stick to its desired standard in accordance with the geometric design standards manual 2005 of the Roads and Highways Department.

Bridge Division Secretary Mohammad Belayet Hossain said the standard has to be followed also as per directive of the PM which was given when the problem over clearance was brought into her notice.

Project Director Mohammad Shafiqul Islam only told the FE that consultations through exchanging letters were continuing between the two projects since they received the new design.

The BBA has been constructing the road-cum-rail bridge under a Tk 300 billion Padma Multipurpose Bridge (PMB) project since 2016. The BR's PBRL project is, however, costlier and started late in 2018 to develop 215.22 km rail track on both sides of the bridge.

Official sources said the BR's excuse of increasing of the project cost and time is not acceptable as resolving these kinds of design-related problems in mega project is also necessary to meet the project objectives.

BBA officials said the PMB project also changed the design to resolve the pier-related problems that it faced at the beginning of the project.

"It may take Tk 200 million more and six more months to meet the standard," said an official, requesting not is named.

It is learnt that the BBA and BR might hold meetings with the experts next week on the proposed changes in the new design.

The FE tried to contact with PBRL project director through cell phone but did not get response.

BBA has stopped construction of piers under the PBRL project when it first identified the fault while rail link piers near the approach road was being constructed three months before.

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