Bangladesh Railway is going to build a two-tier road-cum-rail bridge across the River Karnaphuli at Kalughat point, starting next year, to replace a rundown old bridge at the place.
Korean company Yooshin Engineering Corporation, conducting a fresh feasibility study, has prepared a preliminary design for a two-tier double-track rail-cum-two-lane road bridge across the Karnaphuli, like Padma Bridge.
According to the design, the multipurpose bridge will have a lower level for rail, and an upper level for road transportation.
The total cost of the bridge will now increase to Tk6,341 crore due to adding 12.2 metres to the height of the bridge, as proposed by the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA).
As per the revised development project proposal (DPP), the bridge will be completed within four years from the time construction work begins.
Chattogram-8 MP, Moslem Uddin Ahmed, said the Korean construction firm held a final meeting with officials of the railway east zone at the Central Railway Building (CRB) in Chattogram on Wednesday.
He, who also attended the meeting, said "The firm will submit a final report of a fresh feasibility study next month in August."
According to railway east zone authorities, once the project is approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec), the highest economic policymaking body, the proposed bridge should hopefully be completed by 2027.
Railway east zone General Manager Jahangir Hossain said the length of the bridge is to be 780 metres, the viaduct 5.62 metres, with a span of 100 metres. The height of the bridge will be 12.2 metres, the number of pillars will be eight.
"The tender will be floated after submission of the final feasibility study report. It will take about six to eight months to complete the process," said Jahangir Hossain.
Project Director Golam Mostafa told The Business Standard (TBS), "The new bridge will be 70 metres upstream from the existing age-old bridge and the alignment of the new bridge will be from Jane Ali Hat to Gomdandi Rail Station."
The roads and highways division will construct the roads, connecting to the bridge.
Project Director Gulam Mustafa said, "The Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) of South Korea has agreed to fully fund the project as a soft loan to the Bangladesh government."
"The total costing of the bridge will now increase to Tk6,341 crore due to a major change in design and the addition of height as per proposal of the BIWTA" he said, regarding the increase in project cost.
The engineering department of Bangladesh Railway had earlier prepared a design for the bridge with a 9 metre height and an estimated cost of Tk1,200 crore.
Railway east zone Chief Engineer Md Sabuktagin said there was a misunderstanding whether there would be a separate railway bridge or rail and road together. Later, as per the PM's directive, the design was made for a two-tier bridge after conducting a fresh feasibility study.
On the road bridge, there will be pavements on both sides for crossing the bridge on foot, he added.
Moslem Uddin Ahmed MP said, "As per the proposal placed earlier with the Ecnec, there would be two separate bridges – one for rail and the other for vehicles. When placed to the Prime Minister, she said there will be only one bridge consisting of both railways and vehicular road transport."
The new Kalurghat Bridge will ensure smooth communications with Cox's Bazar from the capital Dhaka and the port city of Chattogram, he added.