Bangabandhu Bridge develops fresh cracks

Bridge div seeks Tk 115cr for repairs

Shakhawat Hossain

The bridge division has sought Tk 115 crore for repairing the fresh cracks which the Bangabandhu multipurpose bridge developed last year, officials said.
They said they sought the fund from the ministry of finance a couple of months ago to repair the cracks in a box of the bridge less than one year after the repairs of earlier cracks.
A committee appointed by the government to probe the first cracks blamed flawed design of the bridge for the damage.
South Korean Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co Ltd built the 4.8 kilometre rail-cum-road bridge which is supposed to have longevity of 100 years.
The bridge developed cracks twice in 15 years. But the government has not asked for any compensation from Hyundai.
Bridge division secretary Khandakar
Anwarul Islam told New Age that the cracks went unnoticed during the repair of the first cracks.
He failed to give further details.
The Bridge Division insiders, however, said the cracks were noticed during repair of the first cracks detected in 2006, eight years after the country’s longest rail-cum-road bridge over the river Jamuna was opened to traffic.
It required five years to examine the faults and to appoint contractors for  repairs that completed only last year.
China Communication Construction Company won the bidding quoting the lowest Tk 242.45 crore in May 2011.
The firm was asked to complete the task in one year, but  the CCCC took two years pushing up the repair cost by Tk 28 crore to 270.45 crore.
The Bridge Division chief engineer Kabir Ahmed said the second cracks were noticed during repair of the earlier cracks.
He said due to a number of technical reasons the bridge division did not repair the fresh cracks during the repair of the first cracks.
Kabir, however, did not explain the technical reasons.
He said tender would be floated soon to appoint a contractor to repair the damage of the bridge that brought the less developed northern region into the country’s mainstream economy.
The country spent $962 million or Tk 37.45 billion as per the dollar-Taka exchange rate during the 1990s to construct the bridge earlier known as the Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge.
The ADB and the World Bank provided more than 45 per cent of the construction cost while the rest was funded by Bangladesh government and donors like Japan.
A substantial portion of the total government funding was collected from levies imposed on the people.
The government would need 21 years more to clear the liabilities it owed to ADB and the WB for the bridge. It has to pay Tk 1.50 billion in principal amount and interest annually to the ADB and the WB until 2034 to pay off the debts.

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