Our Correspondent, Barisal
Sixty percent construction work of two bridges named the Kirtankhola (Dapdapia) and the Khairabad Bridges over the Kirtankhola and Khairabad rivers in Barisal has been completed. Construction of these bridges would influence the development of socio-economic infrastructures of the region connecting it with Chittagong and Mongla sea ports and Kuakata tourist zone.
Under these construction project, two lanes 1390 meters long ‘segmented box girder type’ bridge on Kirtonkhola and 274 meters long ‘pre-stressed concrete girder’ bridge on Khairabad rivers with 4.3 kilometers long approach roads would be constructed.
It was informed at the site on Sunday by Engineer Swakat Hossain, Chief Engineer of PBL and Engineer Mahmoud El Karanshawy, Construction Manager of ACE.
However, during visiting the bridges construction sites, the officials of the construction firms said that it might take extra 6 to 8 months to complete the work beyond the scheduled time i.e. October 16, 2009 as government procedures for construction of link roads are yet to be completed and the physical disturbances like hurricane Sidr, unusual flow of high tide and speedy current often hampered the works.
More than 600 labours, 22 officials and engineers of the construction firms, 30 engineers and officials of the consulting firms, four officials of RHD, doing the almost 24 hours a day , seven days a week to end the work before next monsoon season, the site officials informed.
The foreign consulting firm officials highly appreciated the Bangladeshi labour forces who became skilled in their work very quickly and within a short time doing their jobs very efficiently using most modernized equipments and procedures with maintaining highest international standards of the work.
The project officials further said that an ultra-modern laboratory has been opened at the construction site to maintain the standard and qualities of the construction materials and works done under ‘pile cap lowering system’ introduced in Bangladesh for the second time after Bhairab bridge In 2000, the government took the decision to construct the bridge over the rivers Kirtankhola and Khairabad to ease the road communications connecting Barisal with Kuakata, Mongla, Chittagong, Patuakhali, Barguna, Noakhali, Lakshmipur and Bhola.
After political change over in October 2001, the four-party alliance government decided to start the construction of ‘Y’ type bridges over the river at Dapdapia and Kairabad points in 2003.
The project implementing cost was estimated as Tk 233 crore taka. Bangladesh government requested the donor countries for provide the funds. Kuwait government responded to the request and pledged to provide 80% grants of 10 million Kuwaiti Diner under Kuwait Fund and Aid for Economic Development (KFAED) and rest 20% funded by Bangladesh government.
After discussing different issues, the KFAED signed a contract with the communications ministry on March 19, 2003.
The ministry later invited an international tender and the tender was floated on September 2, 2004 and tender documents were sent to the donor on September 22, 2004. However, the project has been stalled due to conflicts over tender between the ministry and donor organization about selecting the construction firm till October 2006.
At last work order was given to the second lowest bidder China Zhontie Major Bridge Engineering Group Company Limited (MBEC) for implementing the project with the help of the Project Builders Limited (PBL), a construction firm of Bangladesh and Copra Construction Enterprises WLL (COPPRI) of Kuwait under a joint venture.
Arab Consulting Engineers (ACE) of Egypt, Kuwait Construct International Company (KCIC) and Design Development and Construction Company (DDC) of Bangladesh had been appointed jointly as the consulting and supervisory firms of the project under ministry of communication and Roads and Highways department.
The work started on October 16 2006 after acquisitions of 20 acres of land for the bridges is likely to be completed by October 16, 2009.