The operations of trains on Padma Bridge may start in March or June next year.
"Our target is to operate trains on Padma Bridge by March 2023, as March 26 is our Independence Day. If we fail to complete the work by that time, train operations will start in June," said Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan on Sunday.
Earlier, Bangladesh Railway (BR) set a target to prepare the portion for operation with the opening of the bridge in June this year, and later the target was reset for December this year.
Sujan said they would miss both targets because they did not get permission from the bridge authority to lay a railway track on the bridge. He said, "Because road construction is such an important part of the Padma bridge project, it will be opened first. After the road opens in July, we will get permission to lay railway tracks on the bridge. We were denied permission due to a technical issue."
Apart from the technical problems, the project got delayed due to the construction of an underpass in TT Para area and the relocation of utility service lines there, he said.
So far, 57 percent of the project is complete, he added.
"We have time till June 2024 to complete the 169-kilometer railway track from Dhaka to Jashore. Meanwhile, we've finished 55 percent of the work on the Dhaka-Mawa lines. Some 78 percent of the work from Mawa to Bhanga and 49.50 percent from Bhanga to Jashore have been completed," he also said.