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Padma Bridge: a steel infrastructure to strengthen Bangladesh’s economy

A steel colossus unites Bangladesh and enhances its economy: letโ€™s discover the Padma Bridge.

The Bangladeshi government embarked on a massive infrastructure drive to ensure year-round crossing of the Padma River, the main distributary of the Ganges in Bangladesh, as well as connecting road and rail networks to improve access to and from the southwest. The 6km-long steel-built Padma Bridge, inaugurated on 25 June 2022 by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, connects 21 southwestern districts to the capital of Dhaka.

A record-breaking bridge

The infrastructure is considered to be the most challenging construction project in the history of Bangladesh, the steel truss bridge carries a four-lane highway on the upper level and a single track railway on the lower level.
The Padma Bridge consists of 41 sections, each 150.12 m (492.5 ft) long and 22 metres (72 ft) wide, with a total length of 6.15 km (3.82 mi).
It is the longest bridge in Bangladesh, the longest bridge over the river Ganges by both span and total length, and features the highest pile depth of any bridge in the world at 120 m (390 ft). 

A masterpiece of engineering

The construction of the bridge was considered to be especially challenging as Padma is among the most ferocious rivers in the world. This means that the Padma Bridge represents the real triumph of steel-built engineering. Its steel core, formed of 262 high-strength steel piles, is capable of withstanding every conceivable strain, from liquefaction of the riverbed to impacts from river vessels, all the way up to earthquakes โ€“ a vital aspect in seismically active Bangladesh, which sits at the at the meeting point of multiple active tectonic plate boundaries.

A multipurpose infrastructure

The Padma Bridge doesnโ€™t just provide rail and road connections, it also carries vital utilities, with telecommunications lines and stainless steel high-pressure gas pipes fitted along its length. There are even plans for the bridge to house seven 400kv steel-lattice interconnector towers so that it can carry electricity.

The bridge is expected to boost the GDP of Bangladesh by as much as 1.2 percent and sets a high watermark for investment.

Sources: worldsteel.org, Wikipedia
Image By Jubair Bin Iqbal – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=119702677

Read also: Steel and modular building: the future of the sector?
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