Thousands of visitors thronged the Mawa end of the newly opened Padma Bridge in Munshiganj and its Jajira end in Shariatpur to spend time with friends and family and enjoy the view of the spectacular structure during the Eid-ul-Azha holidays.
Visitors started to come in the afternoon of Eid day, but by Monday the crowds kept growing as people from different parts of the country came to the spots in buses, trucks, microbuses and cars.
Crowds of visitors were seen at Mawa Crossroads and Shimulia Ferry Ghat, and near the old Mawa Bazaar in Louhjong of Munshiganj, while many others rented boats or speedboats on the river. Many even crossed the bridge and went to the intersection of Bhanga in Faridpur.
At Jajira point, too, people flocked to the bridge on Monday and Tuesday. At the toll plaza, the murals of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, alongside hilsa sculptures and fountains drew a big crowd.
Bridge officials said trees have been planted at the Jajira end of the bridge where there are connecting roads, service area-2, and a cantonment. People who come to see the bridge also visit those places, spend time there, and take photos.
Many are walking down from the bridge to the river to stand on concrete blocks and enjoy the beauty of the bridge and the River Padma at the same time.
Rabeya and Delwar, who married recently, came to see the Padma Bridge on their first outing together.
"You can say this is our honeymoon. I saw our largest expressway, and the greenery caught my eyes. The Padma Bridge is the only two-storey bridge in the country and I feel like our trip has been worthwhile," said Rabeya.
Siddiqur Rahman, 70, came from Barishal. He looked at the bridge in surprise and said, "I wanted to see the bridge before I die. Thanks to the prime minister for fulfilling the expectations of people like me."
Makeshift shops have been set up along the roads near the bridge. It is like a fair with children busy buying toys and adults flocking to food stores, the shopkeepers happy with the business turnover.
Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Padma Bridge South Police Station Sheikh Mohammad Mostafizur Rahman said the crowds around the bridge have been growing since Monday. Police personnel are on duty to ensure the safety of the visitors.
Munshiganj and Padma Bridge sub-zone In-Charge of Tourist Police Shahadat Hossain said, "Thousands of visitors are coming to see the Padma Bridge every day. We are assisting the tourists with safety as well as information. Usually, most tourists leave the bridge area before nightfall for safety."
The movement of vehicles was slower near the Padma Bridge toll plazas for some time due to a high traffic volume.