Bangladesh has started construction on the dual-gauge, double-track Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge over the Jamuna River.

The 4.8km-long rail bridge will improve rail capacity between the capital and the country’s northwestern regions.

The foundation stone of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge was laid by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from her official residence in Dhaka.

Upon construction, the railway bridge, which will be built 300m upstream of the Bangabandhu Bridge, is expected to be the largest dedicated rail bridge in the country.

The $1.98bn project is slated for completion by 2025. The Japan International Cooperation Agency will provide $1.4bn in project assistance and the government will finance the remainder.

A detailed design of the railway bridge has already been completed by Bangladesh Railway, along with Oriental Consultants Global Company and Chodai Company of Japan and Development Design Consultants of Bangladesh in association with ACE Consultants.

Construction of the main bridge will be carried out in two packages.

Obayashi-TOA-JFE and IHI-SMCC JV have already signed agreements for the civil works related to the eastern and western parts, respectively.

As part of the main project, a 7.6km-long double-line railway approach embankment will be constructed.

Other works include the erection of 30.73km dual-gauge railway track, construction of 16 viaducts, among others.

Additionally, the Bangabandhu Bridge East and Bangabandhu Bridge West stations and yards will be renovated and remodelled.

The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge will be capable of running trains at a speed of 120km/h on broad gauge line and 100km/h on metre gauge track.

A total of 88 trains will be able to run, with the construction of the railway bridge.