Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh ITO Naoki has said the 4.8-kilometre-long dedicated railway bridge over the river Jamuna would drastically improve the capacity and safety of rail transportation between capital and western part of the country.
“The new Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge will become a key part of the international and regional rail transport network such as Trans Asian railway network, SAARC Corridor and BIMSTEC railway network,” he said.The Japanese envoy said this during the foundation stone laying ceremony of construction of the bridge held through videoconferencing by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday.
The construction work for Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge is being implemented with JICA’s financial assistance. Chief Representative of JICA Bangladesh Office, Hayakawa Yuho was also present on the occasion Once completed in 2024, the Ambassador said this dual-gauge double-track bridge would be the largest dedicated rail bridge in Bangladesh.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge Project is one of the five projects included in the “Japan- Bangladesh Comprehensive Partnership” joint statement and was specifically requested by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her visit to Japan in May 2014.
This new railway bridge will be built at the location 300 meter upstream of the existing Bangabandhu Multipurpose Bridge.
The existing Bangabandhu Multipurpose Bridge with single rail line was constructed under co-financing by JICA, World Bank and ADB in late 1990s, has some restrictions like weigh load, size and speed of train movements.
With the highest permitted speed of 20kmph, currently it takes about half an hour for a train to travel from the east side station of the bridge to the one on the west. The delays in schedule of trains frequently occur due to restrictions on load and speed on the Bangabandhu bridge.Great potentials of this railway route, especially for the freight transport with the neighboring countries, has not been fully utilized because of such restrictions of the existing bridge, the Japanese Ambassador said.
Therefore, he said construction of another railway bridge dedicated to the railway at this location is indispensable to meet the increasing and sub-regional traffic demand.