Project Name: Padma Multipurpose Bridge, Bangladesh
Total length: 6,150 meters
Contractor: China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group Co., Ltd
Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project, the “Dream Bridge” of Bangladesh people, locates at about 40km southwest of Dhaka, the capital city. It is a double-layer steel truss bridge, with a two-way four-lane roadway on top and a single-track railway at bottom. The history of crossing the River through ferry boat of local residents from the 21 south districts & the capital city will come to an end when this bridge is opened to traffic. It is also an important channel which connects China and the “Trans-Asian Railway”.
The Padma Bridge is a multipurpose road-rail bridge across the Padma River under construction in Bangladesh. It will connect Louhajong, Munshiganj to Shariatpur and Madaripur, linking the south-west of the country, to northern and eastern regions. Padma Bridge is the most challenging construction project in the history of Bangladesh. The two-level steel truss bridge will carry a four-lane highway on the upper level and a single track railway on a lower level. With 150 m span, 6,150 m total length and 18.10 m width it is going to be the largest bridge in the Pawdda-Brahmaputra-Meghna river basins of country in terms of both span and the total length.
The project covers three districts —Munshiganj (Mawa Point/North bank), Shariatpur and Madaripur (Janjira/South bank). The total area of land to be acquired and required for its components is 918 hectares (2248.63 acre). The requisition of land for the construction yard will be for six years on a rental basis. As per the new design, an additional 144.04 ha (355.93 acre) has been identified for acquisition, bringing the total to 1062.14 hectares (2624.61 acre). This additional land is required because project site lost significant land due to erosion, for transition structures and due to a change in railway alignment.
After allegation of corruption by some people associated with project preparation the World Bank withdrew its commitment and other donors followed. However, the corruption allegations were subsequently found to be false and without merit and the Canadian Court subsequently dismissed the case. The project is now being funded from own resources of the Government of Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) invited the pre-qualification tender for the project in April 2010. Construction of the bridge was expected to commence by early 2011 and be ready for major completion in 2013 (and complete all sections by late 2015). The proposed Pawdda Multipurpose Bridge Project will provide direct connectivity between the central and southwestern part of the country through a fixed link on the Pawdda River at Mawa-Janjira points. The bridge will contribute significantly towards facilitating the social, economic and industrial development of this relatively underdeveloped region with a population of over 30 million. The area of influence of the direct benefit of the project is about 44,000 km2 (17,000 sq mi) or 29% of the total area of Bangladesh. Therefore, the project is viewed as very important infrastructure towards improving the transportation network and regional economic development of the country. The bridge has provisions for rail, gas, electric line and fibre optic cable for future expansion. The Bangladesh Bridge Authority is the executing agency of the project.
On 17 June 2014,An important progress has been made in construction of Pawdda Bridge. A construction firm, China Major Bridge Engineering Company Ltd has been selected to construct the long aspired bridge on the river Padma.The 6.15 km bridge, costing an estimated US$1.2 billion, will connect 21 southern districts with the capital.This mega project would be completed by the end of 2018. A work order for river management issued in August 2014.
China proposed building the bridge on the build-own-transfer (BOT) basis by investing $2 billion or 70 percent of the project cost. Four companies - China Major Bridge Engineering Company, Daelim-L&T JV and Samsung C&T Corporation - purchased the tender papers. But only the Chinese company submitted their financial proposal on 24 April 2014.
The state-owned company has constructed structures like the famous 36 km Hangzhou Bay Bridge, the longest sea-crossing bridge in the world.
Padma Bridge, when commissioned, will boost the GDP by as much as 1.2 percent.
1. Achievements and Latest Progress of Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project
On 6 February 2019, the second day of Chinese lunar new year, with the great effort of all participants, working pile P31-1-2 of Padma Bridge was successfully driven to the design level, marking that driving of a total number of 200 nos. working piles have been completed.
The marine piers of Padma Bridge have total 278 nos. working piles, and 10 nos. load test trial piles, 6 nos. constructability trial piles, 196 nos. raking working piles and 13 nos. vertical working piles have been completed up to the end of February.
On 20 February, a significant progress was achieved at Site, heavy tonnage floating crane “Tianyi” erected a truss span with total weight over than 3000t onto the bridge piers.
The steel truss erected this time had a length of 150m and a weight of 2900t. The total weight of the steel truss reached up 3200t when railway stringer and other ancillary facilities have been installed onto it. It was the 7th span that has been erected, and so far the 1st kilometer of the 6.15km bridge has been presented to the world. Padma Bridge has total 41 spans, and it is estimated that erection of all those spans will be completed at the end of 2020.
On February 28th, with the casting the last one cubic meter concrete, the construction of the main structure of the first transition pier of Padma Bridge was completed, marking the successful completion of the first key node construction task in 2019.
2. Actively Performing Social Responsibility, Demonstrating Sense of Obligation of a State-owned Enterprise
Padma Bridge Project Office actively performed its social responsibility, and committed himself to the improvement of local resistant’s’ living conditions.
On 11 November 2018, while two MBEC traffic boats were going to the construction site, they found a local speed boat overturned in the water. The Chinese staff on that two traffic boats took actions immediately, and saved all drowning local residents, including two who were stuck under the overturned boat. The rescued Bangladesh people gave their thanks by bowing to our Chinese staff, and at this moment, the nationality difference and language difficulty diminished, which were superseded by respect and reverence for life.
On 14 January 2019, Padma Bridge Project Office donated more than 100 sets of school supplies and sports goods to the Mawa Kmarvog elementary school.
3. Providing Jobs for Local Residents and Protecting Rights of Employees
Padma Bridge Project has employed more than 5000 local staff, which solved the difficulty in finding jobs of most unemployed people nearby. In the fortnight production meeting, the administration office (clinic) and HSE department always carried out education and trailing in terms of occupational health, safety and environmental protection, organized propaganda and study of the new “Production Safety Law”& related judicial explanations, and communicated the management documents received from head office in China, CREC, etc. Besides, typical safety accident cases were also selected for study & analysis for warning purpose, and a number of fire rehearsal for local staff, safe driving training etc. for drivers were also organized.
Prior to entering into a new working procedure, education and training would always be carried out for the foremen (including Bangladesh foremen). Before start of each working shift, the foremen or Bangladesh safety officer would speak to all staff in that shift, describing the work activities to be implemented & highlighting safety precautions.
The Padma Project Office payed high attention to the protection of rights of local employees, and provided local employees with PPE comprising work suits, safety shoes, helmet, lift jackets, etc., accommodation and drinking water, 8% annual increase in salary, the rights for holiday/vacation, overtime allowance, “Cool Offer in Summer”, etc.
4. Touching Story of Project Staff
(1) Practitioner of “Belt and Road” Initiative
Mr. Liu Jianhua, Party committee secretary & project manager of Padma Bridge Project Office. In 2001, he went abroad for the 1st time and participated in the construction of Parksey Bridge in Bangladesh. At the time he was just a layman to the management of international projects, however, by virtue of unyielding will, indomitable spirit & assiduous study of international bridge projects, after three internal projects and 10-year stay in Bangladesh, the Chinese team led by him successfully won the bidding of Bangladesh dream bridge, Padma Bridge, and he became the leader of this project.
The joy of winning this project was short-lived. He had to undertake the tough task of organizing and implementing this world-renown mega project. The mission of national team & the great trust of benefiting Bangladesh people were not only the responsibilities on his shoulder, but also the power encouraging him to advance bravely and go ahead boldly.
Staying at the construction site, he led the technical team to actively solve technical difficulties and develop technical innovations, and the team has successfully resolved total 13 nos. world-class technical difficulties, which filled the gap in relevant field of international bridge project industry. He organized technical staff constantly exploring the original technology, optimizing construction methods, and the team was awarded with 23 nos. national construction patents. He also highly valued the wisdom of the masses, and the project office has been totally awarded near 50 nos. “Golden Idea” in relation to management and technology innovation, which has brought about favorable economy benefit.
Under his leadership and with the unremitting efforts and indomitable struggle of all Chinese and Bangladesh staff, construction of the project is now in full swing. In the last 3 years, he insisted on a series of management systems, including morning meeting, daily construction records, real-time reporting in Wechat group, etc., which ensured that the construction period, cost, safety and quality related works being carried forward orderly.
Although in the foreign country, he always remembers the glorious identity of communist, never forgets his initial heart, and constantly improves his political quality, actively enhances the “Four Consciousnesses”, and maintains a high degree unity with the Party Central Committee led by Comrade Xi Jinping in ideological, political and actions. He attaches great importance to the political advantages of party building in overseas projects, plays a leading role in politics and thought in Padma Project, actively carries out political studies, labor competitions, and pioneering activities, and vigorously promotes all aspects of project production. He organized the Theme Communist Party Day activities, caring about the lives of Chinese and Bangladeshi staff, caring for the development of staff, ensuring logistical support, and creating a civilized, healthy and harmonious atmosphere.
He earnestly fulfilled the social responsibility of “Go Global” of Chinese enterprises, actively hired local employees, improved their work skills, made full use of local resources, promoted the development of the local economy, and practiced the principle of achieving sheared growth through discussion and collaboration proposed by “The Belt and Road”. He actively carried out external propaganda, cooperated with domestic and foreign news medias, created a good external public opinion environment, and actively assisted CCTV to film "The Far Home, The Belt and Road", "The Pillars of Major Country", "Major Country Diplomacy", "We Walked Together – Salute to the 40th Anniversary of Reform and Opening up " which have polished the business cards of Chinese companies in foreign countries.
“Idle boast the strong pass is a wall of iron, With firm strides we are crossing its summit” He firmly believes that as long as we strengthen our ideals and beliefs and give full play to the vanguard and exemplary role of communist, under the guidance of the “The Belt Road”, MBEC will be able to successfully complete the construction of Padma Bridge which is carrying the dream of the people of Bangladesh. This great project will also become the shining pearl of “The Belt and Road” on South Asia, and it will surely become a monument that records the friendship between China and Bangladesh and records the strength of China's bridge construction.
(2) Dream of Bangladesh and China——Youth in Padma Bridge
In August 2018, Hunan Satellite TV's "My Youth in Silk Road" camera crew came to Bangladesh and recorded the stories of the leader of Engineering Department of MBEC-4, Pan Jie and his team to overcome difficulties and shape their team cohesiveness.
The Padma Bridge is the largest single bridge project undertaken by Chinese companies in foreign countries. A group of young engineers have taken the responsibility of building the bridge. Pan Jie is one of the construction engineers of Padma Bridge. At the age of 28, he has been working in Bangladesh for 5 years. He leads a team of 14 Chinese members with an average age of 25 years.
Compared with the environment, limited duration of the project is the biggest challenge to Pan Jie. The local monsoon season is long, the river water moves fast, the geological structure is unstable, and the equipment occasionally fail. In order to ensure the construction duration and quality, Pan Jie is busy between 14nos. construction platforms every day. If he is too busy to appear at the construction site, he will make phone with at least 120 times a day. In addition to going to the construction site to supervise the work, Pan Jie will also teach the local workers, after all, technical work needs the instructions of master. Pan Jie, who is young but has a wide experience, has become a master of local workers. He often went to the construction site and teach the local workers.
The members of the Pan Jie’s team perform their duties, but they may also made mistakes due to their young age and lack of experience, such as the inadvertent pressure limit of the jack, the failure of the pile hammer, the data deviation, etc. All these may lead to the anger of Pan Jie. In fact, Pan Jie also understands that the works of every construction engineer is not easy, not only need to understand the technology, but also to "work high above the ground and below the river", not only to climb the platform which is dozens of meters high, but also with no fear of fast rivers flow and strong winds and waves. But the construction of the project should be paid with special care, Pan Jie is very clear about the pressure of his "high standards, strict requirements" for his team members.
The days of construction are both hard and lonely. Pan Jie also understands that his team members may not satisfied with himself. He also knows that his temper is not good, and sometimes he is very guilty. Pan Jie understands that it is necessary to rely on the efforts of the team to make the work go smoothly. Pan Jie, who intended to ease the team relationship by having a meal together, never thought that his colleagues secretly prepared a cake for him to celebrate his birthday.
"Happy birthday to you... Happy birthday to you..."Pan Jie’s team members sang a happy birthday song together. This is the first celebrated birthday of Pan Jie during his 5 years in Bangladesh. It is shown that Pan Jie’s team members have always understood him and supported him! Pan Jie also slowly changed his previous temper of easily getting angry, and better integrated into the construction team.
No matter how much pressure, quarrels, or exhaustion, the young builders of Padma Bridge never thought of being deserters, and youth, shines during their day-to-day busyness!
The Padma Bridge has cohered the sweat and struggle of the bridge builders. From sunrise to sunset, from late night to dawn, the bridge builders are always connected to the bridge, and write their own unique poems at the Padma Bridge in Bangladesh until the bridge is completed.
“Struggling day and night, only for the bridge”, this may be the youth of Pan Jie and chasing the dream is the actual description of everyone in Padma Bridge Project.
“Youth never be betrayed, we are always on the way!”
5. Warm and Comfortable Living Environment for the Staff at Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project
The Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project actively builds the staff's living facilities, equipped with basketball courts, badminton gyms, table tennis gyms, laundry rooms, guesthouses for staff family members, single-person dormitory, staff canteen, vegetable garden, etc., to create a warm and comfortable living environment for the staff.
The Padma Project regularly carries out various cultural and sports activities, including fun sports games, badminton match, New Year Welcoming Running, basketball games, etc., to enrich staff's spare time.
The Labor Union of Padma Project has set up a “Spiritual Station” room to help staff manage pressure and emotions and release pressures of work and life.
In February 2018, the "2018 Happy Spring Festival Performance” was hosted by the Embassy of People’s Republic of China in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project at the site. The Padma Bridge site was full of gongs sounds and colored flags, and the Jiangduchun Drum Art Troupe from Shanxi, China, brought an abundant audio-visual feast to the Padma Bridge builders who stayed at the site during the Spring Festival. The wonderful performance won the audience’s cheer and applause throughout the show. The present Chinese and Bangladeshi builders held the national flags of China and Bangladesh, pushing the atmosphere of the scene to one climax and another. This event was supported by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The project Employer (BBA), supervision organization (CSC) and many local Chinese and Bangladeshi friendly people were invited to participate in the event. The successful hosting of the event not only brought together the Chinese builders of the Padma Bridge who stood firmly during the Spring Festival, but also brought them with a wonderful performance. It also showed China's exquisite traditional cultures and laid the foundation for the friendly cooperation between China and Bangladesh.
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