Bangladesh Railway (BR) would have to revise the design of Padma Rail Link Project (PRLP) to address the faults detected recently, as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed redesigning it following the international standard, officials said
Cabinet Secretary Khandaker Anwarul Islam informed the Railway secretary on Thursday that the Prime Minister has asked the authorities concerned to follow the Padma Bridge standard and international standard in the redesign of the rail link project, they told the FE.
The fault is that there are not enough horizontal and vertical clearances at the points where the approach roads and rail tracks have crossed each other.
A high-level team of the implementing ministries of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project (PMBP) and PRLP, comprising secretaries and project directors, is set to visit the project site today (Friday) to see the problems so that they could come up with a solution to the faults.
According to official sources, the BR and Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA), the two implementing agencies of the projects, have been advised to find out an amicable solution to the problems through mutual discussion.
However, they said that the construction of the approach roads has already been completed and the work of the two-tier bridge was much ahead of the rail track development work.
The BBA has been implementing the PMBP since 2016, completing the approach roads and sub-structures including piers and guarder span placement work.
It has also started the work of road slab and rail track placement on the 16.5-kilometre bridge on which the road will be on the top tier and rail on the bottom tier.
The BR started the work to develop the 215.22 km rail track on the both sides of the bridge in 2018 for establishing the rail communication with central and southwestern districts from Dhaka.
Though the government wants to inaugurate the movement of both rail and road through the bridge next year, the BR's project was delayed due to taking time in signing agreement to get the Chinese loan.
Both the projects, included as fast track projects, have been implemented by Chinese companies - China Rail Group and China Major Bridge. CMB is sister concern of CRG.
Bridge Division Secretary Belayet Hossain said that though a solution was given by the head of panel of experts (PoE) to reduce one metre in the width, it was, however, not accepted by the PM.
"We are going to the project site to see the problem," he told the FE over phone.
Talking to the officials of both the projects, including project directors, it was found that the problems might have created due to lack of coordination between the two project offices. The BBA and BR blamed each other.
The BR's project office sources said the PMBP office has recently placed the demand of keeping 15.5-metre horizontal clearance (HC) and 5.7-metre vertical clearance (VC) between the tiers of road and rail as the rail track crossed the approach roads at Janjira and Mawa sides.
The BR's pier has been designed with 5.1-metre VC and 10-metre HC, they said, adding that the BBA's project office had given them directive to follow the bridge standard at the time of sharing the design in 2015.
But BBA sources said, BR had never shared the design to the PMBP office. However, a verbal direction was shared with the BR to maintain the road standard 2005, which guides keep 5.7-metre VC and 15.5-metre HC.
BR officials also alleged that BBA did not follow the standard in the bridge part of the road as well as the rail part. Even the VC of the underpass constructed below the approach road in Janjira side ranges from 3.0-metre to 5.0-metre.
They also alleged that the width of the BBA's approach road was also not constructed maintaining the 15.5-metre HC.