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Saturday, November 24, 2012
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Meghna-Gumti Bridges

Repair cost soars

Army makes Tk 447cr fresh proposal

Bangladesh Army has made a fresh proposal for repairing Meghna and Meghna-Gumti bridges on Dhaka-Chittagong highway with a cost of Tk 447 crore.

According to the revised project proposal submitted to the communications ministry earlier this month, over Tk 300 crore would be needed as the new proposal includes mending of Meghna-Gumti bridge and a different method to fill the scoured riverbed near the Meghna bridge.

During a meeting between the ministry and army officials over the proposal, the ministry asked the army to have the opinion of Buet experts on the cost.

The army had made the proposal after conducting an underwater survey recently.

As per the revised plan, the filling up of the scoured part of the riverbed under Meghna bridge, with concrete blocks and sand bags, will cost around Tk 290 crore. The initial plan was to fill with concrete blocks at a cost of Tk 135 crore.

The Meghna-Gumti bridge has no scouring issues but many of its expansion joints and hinge bearings have been badly damaged and need replacements.

Recently, the army, entrusted with the repair job, carried out temporary patch ups on both the bridges at a cost of Tk 10 crore. They made temporary repairs to some of the joints and hinge bearings.

Earlier, Roads and Highways Department (RHD) prepared a proposal to repair only the Meghna bridge for Tk 150 crore. The work plan included replacing the damaged expansion joints and hinge bearings, and filling up of the riverbed scouring at three piers.

The RHD had then decided to use concrete blocks in 2.50 lakh cubic metres around three piers of the Meghna bridge.

In the new plan, the area to be filled was reduced to 2.30 lakh cubic metres and Buet experts suggested that geo-textile and geo-synthetic bags filled with sand be used in addition to some concrete blocks.

The decision to construct new bridges alongside the existing ones is a reason for the change in the way the riverbed is going to be filled.

Experts say that concrete blocks will cause difficulties in piling work for the proposed bridges.

The repair of the bridges was scheduled to start this month.

However, filling up of the scoured riverbed will start next month.

Buet consultant for the project Prof Khan Mahmud Amanat said, “A large hole has been detected some 400 metres south of pier-8 of Meghna bridge during a recent survey, which is the main reason for the high cost in the RDPP [revised development project proposal].

“We are assessing whether we at all need to fill the hole. The cost will come down significantly if it is not needed.”

“We are looking into it [the cost] and will inform the communications ministry in a week or two,” said Amanat, also a teacher of Buet's civil engineering department.

Meanwhile, several officials of the ministry while discussing the revised proposal recently expressed reservation about the cost. They questioned some issues of the fresh proposal including the procurement of three four-wheel-drive vehicles and a pick-up truck for Tk 12.7 crore.

Asked about the high cost, Communications Secretary MAN Siddique said the cost increased due to the plan to use sandbags.

He said the consultants of Buet and the army were assessing the cost. "We will prepare a proposal in line with their suggestions and send it to Ecnec for approval," Siddique told The Daily Star.

The Japanese-built bridges are crucial for uninterrupted road communication between Dhaka and Chittagong. The Meghna bridge was opened in 1991 while Meghna-Gumti bridge was opened in 1995.

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Agree with Dr Rashid's observation. If the Army engineers build (via sub-contractors, mainly) bridges in Bandarban (CHT) or construct Dhk-Mmnsngh 4-lane highway etc., this could possibly bring a short term respite for the govt., but the long term cost will be much high.

: Concerned citizen

The army encouraged by Sheikh Hasina is planning to loot the treasury. The bankers are doing it and so army wants to do it too.

: A Patriot

Comments

  • Anonymous
    Saturday, November 24, 2012 04:52 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    All the projects implemented by Army get revised many times with huge cost enhancement. The marine drive project is being implemented by Army for a long time, but there is no sign of project end and the cost? They don't follow procurement law and there is no audit in army projects. Govt. should consider these issues. Army can assist other organizations by equipment and security, should not be the principal implementation agency.

  • nijhor fattah
    Saturday, November 24, 2012 02:39 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Ziauddin, please do comment knowing the full truth, not half. Two bridges to be repaired, not one. Total length of two bridges is more than two km 8 km Padma bridge construction costs more than tk. 25000 crore. And slider, what if the bridges fall for taking too much time or delaying the repair. Bridges will be unrepeatable if not repaired immediately.

  • Nijhor Fattah
    Saturday, November 24, 2012 02:43 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Can we really construct two such bridges by tk. 447 crore? What could be the length of Padma Bridge--8 km? Two bridges is 2.5 km. Padma bridge costs 25000 crore. Also consider the danger of the bridges like Meghna and Gomuti falling due to lack of repair. Economy cannot allow that probably. Army will ensure proper work to be done. We want the bridges always operational.

  • nijhor fattah
    Saturday, November 24, 2012 02:51 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Then we should abandon the project and go for new construction with Ziauddin Ahmed as its contractor within Tk. 447 crore, both Meghna and Gomuti bridges of total length more than 2.5 km. Let the present bridges collapse!!! Everyone should be careful and get the whole of the thing before commenting.

  • Ziauddin Ahned
    Saturday, November 24, 2012 01:04 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    With Tk 447 crore estimated repair cost probably new bridges can be built over Meghna and Gumti river parallel to present ones.

  • Dr. Abdur Rashid
    Saturday, November 24, 2012 02:47 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    It looks extraordinary that the BD army has launched itself into civil works which should be subject of competitive bidding, among those who have the expertise. Also the supervision consultant should be selected based on competitive bidding. The army should have its own tasks to keep the army in a state of efficient operation. While the BUET participation is important for evaluation of bids. It is not in the fitness of things that army should be engaged where civil contractors in the private sector should be primarily hired. Army can be engaged only during emergency. The PM, the concerned minister should be briefed on the matter.

  • rch
    Saturday, November 24, 2012 05:48 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    The main reason is no maintenance was done after it was opened... We only build to make money.


 

 


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