A Spanish consultancy firm named Typsa is going to prepare a detailed master plan for what the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) will do in the next 30 years.
After Typsa won the tender at Tk243 crore, the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase approved it in April.
The bridge authority wants to sign an agreement with the consultant in May and is preparing accordingly.
Besides drawing up a master plan, Typsa will study the feasibility of building two bridges – Shariatpur-Chandpur and Gazaria-Munshiganj – across the Meghna River.
It will also carry out a feasibility study of the Bhola-Laxmipur bridge.
A feasibility study of the Inner Circular Elevated Expressway will also be done under this project.
The project titled "Feasibility Study for Construction of Bridges over the river Meghna on Shariatpur-Chandpur road and Gazaria-Munshiganj road and preparation of a master plan for the Bangladesh Bridge Authority" will be completed in 24 months of agreement signing.
"The agreement will be signed very soon. I hope it can be done this month," Quazi Muhammad Ferdous, chief engineer of BBA, told The Business Standard.
"The main objective is to make a master plan of what the bridge authority will do in the transport sector in keeping with the development vision of 2041. There will also be a feasibility study of several projects."
The bridge authority has the mandate and authority to build bridges, tunnels, expressways, and elevated ways with a length of more than 1,500 metres. These options will be explored in the master plan.
According to officials at the bridge authority, the Spain-based company is currently conducting a feasibility study of the Dhaka subway, most of which has already been completed.
In the process of conducting the feasibility study, the company has already got a good idea of the transport sector in the country, especially in Dhaka, they added.
The officials said the firm has a range of information in hand. Both sides will be comfortable in preparing the master plan due to its experience in the subway study and its good understanding with the bridge authority. Everything in the contract has already been fixed, so now they are just waiting to start sign up for this new work.
According to the draft agreement, Typsa will conduct a pre-feasibility study of the projects for the next 10 years in the master plan. The financial aspects of the overall implementation of the master plan will also be discussed in the plan.
The consultant shall collect and review all existing data relevant to the project, including available social, economic, and trade data. It will also review other master plans of other government departments, safety-related statistics, traffic counts, and statistics. Typsa will also review available information on transport infrastructure, studies, and plans for individual transport modes.
"The BBA will bear the total project cost with its own money," said Md Abul Hossain, a superintending Engineer at the bridge authority.
"Under the master plan, a roadmap and action plan of transport connectivity will be established with every corner, every district of the country, which will boost the economy of every part of the country equally."
The bridge authority was in the process of constructing a second bridge over the river after the Padma Bridge at Mawa-Jajira point. But a decision was made at the highest level of the government to focus on the construction of the Meghna Bridge on the Shariatpur-Chandpur route.
Therefore, the feasibility study of the bridge has been included in the same project with the master plan with due importance.
With the formulation of the master plan, it will be decided on where the Meghna Bridge will be and how much it will cost. How much time it will take to build the bridge will also be known at the end of the project in 2022.
At the same time, Typsa will also look into whether the bridge will be over the river, or whether a tunnel will be built under the river.