Millions of people are eagerly waiting to celebrate the memorable and historic day of inauguration of the long-cherished Padma Multipurpose Bridge with double-deck rail and road connectivity on June 25.
"People from all walks of life, including women, elderly persons and students, are ready to pour in along the 6.15 kilometre long bridge sites both in Munshiganj and Shariatpur to witness the opening ceremony," Md Sultan Hossain, a resident of Janjira told journalists.
"Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the worthy daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, materialized the dream of the people of southern districts through construction of the bridge," Sultan added.
Talking to reporter Md Moniruzzaman, a young political analyzed, said the bridge will open up a new horizon in the country's communication system and bring a revolutionary change in the lives and livelihoods of nearly six crore people of 19 southern districts as it will connect those districts with the rest of the country, including capital Dhaka, directly.
"By taking a challenge Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has constructed the 6.15 kilometre long two-tier Padma Bridge having provisions for movement of vehicles on the upper tier of the bridge and operation of trains on the lower tier with own finance," he said.
Moniruzzaman said the dream bridge will change the economic landscape of southwestern Bangladesh, as well as it will connect many countries of South and Southeast Asia and contribute to communication, trade, industry, tourism and many other sectors in various ways.
"When we come from Barisal to Dhaka by road, we have to cross the mighty Padma River by ferry and face unbearable situations. Now we will be able to visit at least 19 districts without any hazard due to this great job of Awali League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina," he stated.
Talking to reporter, Project Director of Padma Multipurpose Bridge Md Shafiqul Islam said everything is going on well to open the Padma Bridge on June 25.
He said that workers and experts have been working relentlessly to ensure 100 percent completion of all works, adding, "We are checking electric lines, electric bulbs and other related works to finish all activities within the stipulated time."
According to economists, the government is optimistic that Padma Bridge will boost the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by 1.5-2 percent. The bridge will change the economic landscape of southwestern Bangladesh, as well as it will connect many countries of South and Southeast Asia and contribute to communication, trade, industry, tourism and many other sectors in various ways, they said.
According to project details, China Major Bridge Engineering Company (MBEC), a Chinese contractor Company, constructed the bridge.
The construction work began on December 12, 2015 as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated it. The first span of the Padma Bridge was installed at the Jajira point of Shariatpur on October 7, 2017.
Along with Bangladeshis, many foreign nationals were working round the clock on the project. The southern region will become the country's biggest economic zone after opening of the Padma Bridge.
Earlier, the Prime Minister on November 12 in 2013 inaugurated the approach roads on Janzira and Mawa sides a well as the Service Area-2 work.
The work on the Padma Bridge is broadly divided into five parts -- the main bridge, river training, two link roads and infrastructure (service area) construction.
Padma Bridge Project Director M Shafiqul Islam said the main construction work of the Padma Bridge includes piling and river training.
Bangladesh Army, BUET and Korea Expressway Corporation and Associates are supervising construction of the bridge that is expected to boost the country's trade, and development and economic activities.
With the last span installed on December 2020, the long wait for the Padma Multipurpose Bridge was almost over.
The pre-feasibility study of the bridge project was conducted by Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) in 1998-1999 with Bangladesh government's fund. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) did the feasibility study during 2003-2005.
International and national consultants headed by AECOM prepared the detailed design of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge. The team comprised AECOM, SMEC International, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants and ACE Consultants, with additional assistance from Aas-Jakobsen and HR Wallingford.
On December 31, 2021 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited the Padma Bridge, with her sister and Bangabandhu's younger daughter Sheikh Rehana.
They also walked another two kilometers from Pillars No 7 to 18 in the morning on Friday.