Construction begins on US$2 billion rail bridge in Bangladesh

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The Prime Minister of Bangladesh recently inaugurated the construction of the largest rail bridge in the country. The 4.8 kilometers double-line dual-gauge Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge virtually was inaugurated when the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina virtually laid the foundation stone from her residence in Dhaka. The US$ 2 billion megaproject has been funded partly by the Japan International Cooperation Agency who will provide US$1.4 billion while the rest will be financed by the national Bangladeshi government and is scheduled to be completed by 2025 and will be built 300m upstream of the Bangabandhu Bridge. It is expected to be the largest dedicated rail bridge in the country. The bridge would improve regional rail connectivity as it would allow Bangladesh Railway to operate more trains between the capital and the country’s northwestern regions.

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A detailed design of the railway bridge has already been completed by Bangladesh Railway, along with Oriental Consultants Global Company and Chodai Company of Japan and Development Design Consultants of Bangladesh in association with ACE Consultants. The South Asian country’s northwestern part is mainly an agricultural zone, and most of the country’s sugar and jute mills are located here. The Prime Minister stated that the project will bring economic benefits, and provide transportation to people and goods at a cheaper rate.

As part of the main project, a 7.6km-long double-line railway approach embankment will be constructed. Other works include the erection of a 30.73-kilometer dual-gauge railway track, construction of 16 viaducts, among others. Additionally, the Bangabandhu Bridge East and Bangabandhu Bridge West stations and yards will be renovated and remodeled. The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge will be capable of running trains at a speed of 120km/h on a broad gauge line and 100km/h on a meter gauge track. A total of 88 trains will be able to run, with the construction of the railway bridge.