3rd Shitalakhya Bridge to boost economy, road networks

Publish: 8:17 PM, September 5, 2022 | Update: 8:17 PM, September 5, 2022

The six-lane 3rd Shitalakhya Bridge, which is expected to open by the end of this month end or first week of next month, will connect Narayanganj city with Bandar upazila, boosting economy, easing the communication between Chattogram and southwestern districts via Padma Bridge.

Once the 1.29 kilometer long bridge is opened, Chattogram region-bound vehicles from southwestern region and vice-versa will be able to bypass Narayanganj city to avoid traffic congestion and save times, project director of the bridge Shoaib Ahmed told BSS.

Country’s economy will get boosted up significantly after opening of the bridge as it will reduce the travel time of vehicles bound to and from southeastern part of the country, he said.

The people will get maximum benefit from the Padma Bridge once the new road network is built with the bridge, he also said.

As per the estimated time, the bridge was supposed to be opened to vehicles in December this year. But it will be inaugurated by the end of the current month or first week of next month, three months before the deadline as most of the works have already been completed, he added.

The bridge will connect Madanganaj of Bandar upazila on the east with Syedpur of Narayanganj Sadar upazila on the west. Now motor-run boats are key communication mode for the people of both sides of the river and other areas to cross it.

Talking to BSS, garment worker Tania, a resident of Madanganj said she has to come to Gudaraghat on foot every morning and cross the river by boat to reach her workplace.

Boats often collide with large ships causing death of passengers as plying of commercial ships has increased a lot in recent times, she said.

“Now it has become frightening for us to cross the river by boat. Fears multiply during monsoon. When the bridge will be opened, our movement will be easier and fearless,” she said.

Bandar upazila resident and cultural personality Yusuf Atik Malik said the bridge will be more significant in national perspective than local.

Now, vehicles from southwestern region use Jatrabari route in Dhaka via Postogola Bridge to go to Chattogram region or use Chashara and Signboard route to reach their destinations, he said.

After opening of Shitalakha Bridge, vehicles will not have to face severe traffic congestion in Panchabati BSCIC industrial area, Panchabati intersection, Chashara intersection, Singboard, Chattogram road in Narayanganj or Postogola and Shanir Akhra route in Dhaka, said Shoaib Ahmed.

The vehicles will be able to bypass capital as well as Narayanganj city, he said, adding that moreover the pressure on the capital and Narayanganj city will also be reduced.

Though the project was approved in 2010 in the ECNEC, construction work started on January 28 in 2018.

The PD said 97 percent construction works of the bridge including two service lanes have been completed as only works of constructing approach road in east and west ends of the bridge and toll plaza are going on.

He said the bridge construction is estimated at a cost of Taka 608.56 crore as Taka 263.36 crore came from Bangladesh government fund and Taka 345.20 crore from Saudi Fund for Development (SFD).

The bridge with walkways has 38 spans – five in river and 33 in east and west ends. The width of the bridge along with walkways is 22.15 meters. Besides, six-lane toll plaza and 1.5 km long approach road is also being built.

The Shitalakhya River separates the Bandar Upazila and Sonargoan Upazila from the district head quarter. These two Upazilas are not directly connected to the district head quarter by road. Kanchpur Bridge (Shitalakhya-1 Bridge) has to be used to go the district head quarter from the two upazilas which requires nearly 30 km of travelling by road to cross just 3 to 5 km distance through the river by boat.

Several thousands of people living in Bandar Upazila cross the river Shitalakhya by boat every day for work in Narayangonj and Munshigonj. Similarly, people from Narayangonj and Munshigonj also cross the river Shitalakhya by boat to come to Bandar or Sonargoan Upazila. The 3rd Shitalakhya Bridge at Bandar upazila, Narayanganj will establish direct road communication between Bandar upazila and the district head quarter.

The bridge is expected to provide a by-pass for a substantial amount of traffic heading to National Highway-1, National Highway-2 and National Highway-8.

This proposed bridge will connect Mograpara, Madanpur, Kanchpur and Demra through Madangonj – Syedpur- Mukterpur, Munshiganj – Tongibari – Lohajong and Mawa for journey to Khulna, Jashore, Benapole, Mongla, Barisal and other places from Dhaka-Chitagong Road (National Highway-1), Dhaka- Sylhet Road (National Highway-2), Dhaka- Mymensingh Road etc.