The Padma Bridge is a multipurpose road-rail bridge across the Padma River under construction in Bangladesh. It will connect Louhajong, Munshiganj to Shariatpur and Madaripur, linking the south-west of the country, to northern and eastern regions. Padma Bridge is the most challenging construction project in the history of Bangladesh. The two-level steel truss bridge will carry a four-lane highway on the upper level and a single track railway on a lower level. With 150 m span, 6150 m total length and 18.10 m width it is going to be the largest bridge in the Padma-Brahmaputra-Meghna river basins of country in terms of both span and the total length.
The project covers three districts —Munshiganj (Mawa Point/North bank), Shariatpur and Madaripur (Janjira/South bank). The total area of land to be acquired and required for its components is 918 hectares. The requisition of land for the construction yard will be for six years on a rental basis. As per the new design, an additional 144.04 ha has been identified for acquisition, bringing the total to 1062.14 hectares. This additional land is required because project site lost significant land due to erosion, for transition structures and due to a change in railway alignment.
After allegation of corruption by some people associated with project preparation the World Bank withdrew its commitment and other donors followed. However, the corruption allegations were subsequently found to be false and without merit and the Canadian Court subsequently dismissed the case. The project is now being funded from own resources of the Government of Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) invited the pre-qualification tender for the project in April 2010. Construction of the bridge was expected to commence by early 2011 and be ready for major completion in 2013 (and complete all sections by late 2015). The proposed Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project will provide direct connectivity between the central and southwestern part of the country through a fixed link on the Padma River at Mawa-Janjira points. The bridge will contribute significantly towards facilitating the social, economic and industrial development of this relatively underdeveloped region with a population of over 30 million. The area of influence of the direct benefit of the project is about 44,000 km2 or 29% of the total area of Bangladesh. Therefore, the project is viewed as very important infrastructure towards improving the transportation network and regional economic development of the country. The bridge has provisions for rail, gas, electric line and fibre optic cable for future expansion. The Bangladesh Bridge Authority is the executing agency of the project.
On 17 June 2014,An important progress has been made in construction of Padma Bridge. A construction firm, China Major Bridge Engineering Company Ltd has been selected to construct the long aspired bridge on the river Padma.The 6.15 km bridge, costing an estimated Tk 91.72 billion, will connect 21 southern districts with the capital.This mega project would be completed by the end of 2018. A work order for river management issued in August 2014.
China proposed building the bridge on the build-own-transfer (BOT) basis by investing $2 billion or 70 percent of the project cost. Four companies - China Major Bridge Engineering Company, Daelim-L&T JV and Samsung C&T Corporation - purchased the tender papers. But only the Chinese company submitted their financial proposal on 24 April 2014.
The state-owned company has constructed structures like the famous 36 km Hangzhou Bay Bridge, the longest sea-crossing bridge in the world.
Padma Bridge, when commissioned, will boost the GDP by as much as 1.2 percent.