Bangladesh’s $1.54-billion bridge opens for public after 8 years construction

AISA: The Bangladeshi government awarded MBEC a $1.54 billion contract in 2014 to construct the bridge’s core structure, making it the country’s largest infrastructure project as well as the largest foreign bridge project undertaken by Chinese companies in terms of total cost.

The Padma Multipurpose Bridge in Bangladesh, a 21.5-meter-wide, 6.15-kilometer-long bridge built over the Padma River, finally opened to the public on Saturday, cutting travel times from parts of the country’s southwest to the capital Dhaka from seven to eight hours to as little as 10 minutes.

According to Wuhan-based China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group, or MBEC, one of China’s largest bridge builders, the main branch of the Ganges has two levels, with the upper tier having a four-lane highway and the lower tier having a single-track railway. The project has created over 50,000 jobs for local residents over the last eight years.

Because of the river’s vast width and fast-flowing nature, as well as the area’s proclivity to flooding, travelers and goods were previously transported by boat or ship.

According to Bangladeshi news reports, the bridge is expected to boost the country’s annual GDP by 1.5 percent after completion and benefit over 80 million people.

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