Bangladesh seeks US$9bn in loans for bridge projects

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The Bengali government plans to build five bridges with the help of loans from the New Development Bank (NDB) as it waits for the financing agreements from the group since its membership admission in 2021.

It is reported that the five bridge projects which will total to approximately USD 8.9 billion will be serviced by the financing agreements with NDB.

The two most significant and large projects include a bridge to connect he mainland near Barishal and the Bhola district with a projected cost of USD 1.615 billion, as per the final report of a feasibility study and the second one is to link Paturia with Daulatdia over the Padma River with an estimated cost of around USD 2.8 billion.

Project locations

The proposed bridge over the Kalabodor and Tetulia rivers aims to establish direct road connectivity between mainland Barishal and Bhola.

The other three Bridges Division projects for which loan proposals have been sent to the NDB are a bridge on the Bakerganj-Bauphal road over the Karkhana River, one on the Bhola-Lakshmipur road over the Meghna River, and either a tunnel or a bridge over the Maheshkhali channel in Cox’s Bazar.

Currently there is a ferry that provides transportation services over the 3.3km stretch of this section of the Padma River. About 60 km south east from the proposed location of the second Padma bridge is Bangladeshi’s largest bridge.

Bangladesh and the New Development Bank (NDB)

Bangladesh joined the New Development Bank membership in 2021 together with the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Egypt. This multilateral development bank was established by the BRICS economic bloc states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and was formerly known as the BRICS’s Development Bank.

Along with an NDB delegation, the bank’s Vice president and Chief Operating Officer Vladmir Kazbekov made the groups inaugural visit to Bangladesh last month. According to a statement from NDB, discussions were primarily focused on advancing infrastructural development across various economic sectors.

The master plan in this regard is also in the final stage. Some of these projects have received final feasibility study reports, and the review work is underway.

The five bridges

The Padma Bridge in Bangladesh (Courtesy image)

These five bridge projects represent a fraction of what the country was seeking across all departments and agencies.

Officials of the Bridges Division and Bangladesh Bridge Authority say the feasibility study for the construction of the bridge on the Barishal-Bhola road project has been completed.

The Indian consulting firm, STUP Consultants, has submitted the final report. The bridge department is currently reviewing the report, and simultaneously, the preparation of the preliminary development project proposal is in progress.

Meanwhile, officials of the Bangladesh Bridge Authority say the construction of the bridge on the Bakerganj-Bauphal road over the Karkhana River project will cost USD 363 million. The feasibility study for this project has already been completed.

Other projects

In addition to the five bridge projects, a new water supply build in Dhaka and utility work in Narayanganj are budgeted at USD 760 million.

Preliminary estimates by officials suggest that the estimated cost of the projects is USD 23 billion. However, the final approval from the NDB will be obtained after sending the Preliminary Development Project Proposal (PDPP) of the projects.

Much as Bangladesh obtained NDB membership in September 2021, the country is yet to receive a loan from this organisation due to the lengthy process of submitting loan proposals. However, loan processing for two projects is at the final stage and the bank is expected to provide USD 4.5 billion for the country over the next five years.

NDB extends loans to member countries focusing on these six sectors: clean energy and energy efficiency, transport, infrastructure, water and sanitation, environmental protection, social infrastructure, and digital infrastructure.

Second Padma Bridge

The building of a second bridge on the Padma River will certainly draw the attention of both Bengali residents in the area and a host of international construction companies.

The construction of the first Padma River bridge was a decades-long saga that began in the 1970s but was not completed until 2022.

Ultimately, the Bangladesh government funded most of the US$3.6 billion scheme through its central budget. Construction finally began in 2016 and was inaugurated and opened in 2022. The bridge is currently the largest in the country.

About STUP Consultants

STUP is a full service project delivery consultancy company offering integrated planning, comprehensive building design, engineering and project management services for buildings, power, transportation, telecommunications, commercial, institutional, recreational and manufacturing facility infrastructure, and is an international firm with over 1200 professionals in more than 20 offices and global project locations.

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