Steel truss span installation work over 10 piers of the Padma Bridge is unlikely to resume shortly, as the river started swelling suddenly after a downtrend in the middle of this month (September), officials said.
The Padma Multipurpose Bridge (PMB) Project has set a target to resume the work by the end of September to complete the installation work by the first week of December for making the total 6.15-kilometre bridge visible.
Its last steel truss slab was installed on June 10, which made 4.5 km of the bridge visible.
"The river water started to swell again all on a sudden. So we cannot immediately plan to resume the work," said Project Director Mohammad Shafiqul Islam.
He, however, said they will review the situation after a week.
Earlier, the Chinese contractor of the Tk 300-billion PMB project stopped the installation work in July for an indefinite period, as placing cranes and other equipment had been difficult to manage due to swelling of the river and strong current.
Following the situation, the project office revised its target of completing the installation work, starting it from September.
Dewan Mohammad Abdul Quader, an executive engineer of the bridge project, said the river water is still 75 centimetre high from the erection level.
He also said the water dropped almost to the erection level in the middle of September, which created hope for them of resuming the work in the current month.
According to the record, the river water level is 5.5 metre against the required erection level of 4.8 metre. On September 15/16, it came down to 5.0 metre.
The river swelled seven metres higher than the required level at the time of suspension of the installation work. The current level in the river was 3.5 metres per second at that time against 0.2 metres per second of normal level.
So far 31 spans out of the total 41 have been installed in the country's longest bridge, making its 4.5 km out of 6.15 km visible.
Official sources, however, said other works of the project, including pier and slab placement, are going on.
The executive engineer said five more steel truss spans are ready for placing on the piers, and three more spans are under preparation.
He opined that completing the span installation work would not be hampered due to the reason.
The PMB project has been facing challenges since its inception. Its work has slowed down again due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The span installation work had been carried out with Chinese engineers and technicians available at the project site. But, the work has been hit recently due to the river swelling and strong current.
Earlier, the project's valuable equipment was also devoured by the river due to sudden erosion at the construction yard on July 31.
The road transport and bridges minister announced to complete the span installation work by June.