National, Front Page

PM opens Payra Bridge

A new break for dev

Published : 24 Oct 2021 11:32 PM | Updated : 25 Oct 2021 11:31 AM

The much-awaited Payra Bridge constructed over the Payra river in Lebukhali area on Dhaka-Patuakhali-Barishal highway in southern districts of the country opened to traffic.

The 1.47 km-long bridge is the fifth largest one in the country, which provides uninterrupted communication facilities with the Payra River Port, thermal power plant and the Kuakata sea beach. The new bridge will lead to the development of communication system in the area as well as industrialization, expansion of trade and commerce, overall improvement of the socio-economic condition of the people.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday virtually inaugurated the four-lane bridge from her official residence Ganabhaban in the capital. Ferry services on the river have already been suspended.

The prime minister said after assuming office in 2009, the Awami League government has concentrated on the development of the country, especially in the southern region.

“Today an aesthetic Payra Bridge was built over the Payra River which would not only increase tourism opportunities but also expand business as the government is setting up Payra Sea Port,” she added.

The Padma Bridge is scheduled to be opened next year. After opening it to traffic, there will be no more ferry services on the Pyra River.

During her inaugural speech the Prime Minister said, “If communication is improved, socio-economic development will also be accelerated.” 

The country's second largest sea beach is in Kuakata. Besides tourism potential, the government also has plans for industrialization there. Work is underway to establish economic zones in the area. The country’s largest power plant, Payra 1320MW coal-fired power plant, is in operation there. 

Moreover, another coal power plant is being set up in Patuakhali. Sher-e-Bangla three-dimensional naval base at Kalapara in Patuakhali is also under construction. New investments are being made in the tourism sector in Kuakata. The number of tourists in Kuakata is likely to increase in the coming days with the advanced communication system.

Engineer Asaduzzaman Chunnu, a resident of Barguna, said, “Once upon a time, people had to cross the river with ferry at 10 places to reach Kuakata sea beach in Patuakhali via Mawa from Dhaka. We had to cross eight rivers by ferries to reach Barguna’s Amtali from Dhaka. Now, we won’t have to cross any ferry once the Padma Bridge is completed.”

“Earlier, it took almost a day to reach home from Dhaka. The journey was tiresome and full of jeopardies. But, now the communication system is upgraded and we can visit smoothly without any hassle,” he added.

Abdul Halim, Director of Payra Bridge Project, said, “The bridge provides uninterrupted communication facilities with the Payra River Port and Kuakata sea beach. None has to face any obstacle on the way to these places from Dhaka. The people of the area as well as the tourists will be relieved now.”

“Industrialization in these areas, expansion of trade and commerce, development of tourism in other areas including Kuakata, and overall improvement in the socio-economic condition of the people of the area are on the cards as the bridge has been constructed over Payra,” Halim added.

He further said, “We have added Bridge Health Monitor sensor. This sensor will transmit a moderate earthquake shock. If there is any damage to the bridge due to storm, cyclone, temperature or overloading, it will signal us. Then we can take necessary steps accordingly.”

An official of Payra Port said the bridge will play a vital role in carrying goods once the Payra River port is fully operational. The movement of vehicles will be smoother.

Motaleb Sharif, General Secretary of the Kuakata Hotel-Motel Owners' Association, said, “Many people did not want to visit Kuakata because of the long distance, time and sufferings. But, now tourists will be interested due to the easy communication system.”

“If the Padma Bridge is completed next year, it will be possible to enjoy 100 percent of the benefits of the Payra Bridge,” he added. 

Transport officials said it could take six to seven hours to travel Kuakata from Dhaka once the Padma Bridge is opened. Now it takes about 9-10 hours if there is no congestion at the ferry terminal. 

The design of this bridge is somewhat exceptional. The four-lane bridge was constructed using extradited cable-stayed technology. The Shah Amanat Bridge over the Karnafuli River in Chottogram was also built with this technology. The Payra Bridge is also connected by cable on both the sides. The height of the bridge is 18.30 meters from the water level of the river. Connecting roads have been constructed across 7 kms on both the banks of Payra. A 130-meter deep pile has been laid on this bridge. Only one pillar is used in the middle of the river. As a result the normal flow of the river will be fine. 

The government had approved the bridge project in May 2012. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of Payra Bridge on March 19 in 2013.

The project was implemented by Chinese contractor Longjian Road and Bridge Construction and it was jointly funded by the Bangladesh government and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED).