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The railways authorities are set to prepare a new proposal after redesigning the Padma Bridge Rail Link project next week following the detection of a major fault in the existing design.

According to the former design, the rail road would bar the movement of road transport by the Padma Bridge at approach road areas at both ends.

On Friday, the railways ministry secretary Md Selim Reza, Bridges Division secretary Md Belayet Hossain and project directors of the Padma Bridge Rail Link and the Padma Multipurpose Bridge projects visited the project area in this regard.

Currently an expert team of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology is working to redesign the rail link project. 

Earlier on Wednesday the Cabinet Division directed both railways and bridges authorities to solve the problem.

Both of them are fast-track project and are under construction at present.

Bangladesh Bridge Authority under the Bridges Division of the road transport and bridges ministry started the work of the Padma Multipurpose Project in November 2014 and is scheduled to complete the 6.15 double-decked bridge having both road and rail line by June  2021 to connect Dhaka with south-western part of the country.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Railway under the railways ministry started the work of Padma Bridge Rail Link Project in January 2016, under which it was scheduled to complete the work of a 169-kilometre rail link between Dhaka and Jashore by June 2024.

The Padma Bridge provides four lanes for road traffic on the top deck and a single broad-gauge railway track on the lower deck, as per the rail link project office.

Recently the officials of Padma Bridge project raised questions about the faults in the rail link project.

Sources of the project said that the faults were detected on two sides of the bridge — at Mawa and Janjira points.

At these two points along the route, the design prepared by the railway’s shows inadequate heights, making it impossible for vehicles with more than average height, such as trucks and lorries, to pass through with ease.

The Bridges division secretary Md Belayet Hossain told New Age on Friday that there was fault in the design of the Padma Rail Link project as the height of the rail road was between 4.8 metres and 5.2 metres at places instead of standard height of 5.7 metres at both sides of the Padma Bridge.

He said that instead of the ideal horizontal measurement of 15.5 metres of the rail road, 9.5 metres were shown at Janjira point and 10 metres at Mawa point.

As a result the passage of vehicles, including covered vans, would be difficult through those points and without solving this fault these spots would become a ‘black spots’ where too many accidents might take place, he said.

He said that recently they brought the issue to the attention of the cabinet division secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam.

On Wednesday the cabinet division secretary met the railways ministry secretary and the project directors of the rail link and the bridge projects at a meeting and directed them to solve the problem, Belayet Hossain said.

Following the decision they had visited the rail link project area on Friday where a decision was taken that the railways authorities would submit a fresh proposal after redesigning the project, he continued.

Belayet Hossain said that the design would have to be accepted by both projects and an expert team of BUET headed by emeritus professor M Shamim Z Bosunia was preparing the design.

‘I have seen the draft of the newly prepared design,’ he said and added that the rail project authorities might have to change some piers to rectify the faults.

Replying to a question he said that there should be coordination between the two project directors.

The Padma Bridge project director Md Shafiqul Islam said that work of the bridge would not be affected by the rail link project as three years ago they had completed their portion of work on the approach roads.

‘We have to fix the problem that emerged while implementing the former design,’ Bangladesh Railway director general Md Shamsuzzaman told New Age on Friday.

Shamsuzzaman, however, claimed that these faults would not affect the main project as they would have to fix one to two piers only.

The authorities are scheduled to open the Padma Bridge for movement of vehicles in December next year which would cost Tk 30,193 crore.

The rail link project would cost Tk 39,246 crore which will be completed in four segments — Dhaka-Gandaria, Gandaria-Mawa, Mawa-Bhanga Junction and Bhanga Junction-Jashore.

News Courtesy: www.newagebd.net

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