Karnafuli Bridge

Karnafuli Bridge a 919.48m long road bridge over the karnafuli River at Chandgaon upazila, Chittagong district. Basically it is a steel truss bridge on steel pile foundation. The people of Chittagong and its adjoining area were anxiously looking for a bridge over the river Karnafuli to extend the city beyond the Karnafuli river to the southern side and to link cox's bazar and other areas by road.

Karnafuli Bridge

The Government of Bangladesh negotiated with the Royal Dutch Government of the Netherlands for constructing the Karnafuli Bridge with their assistance. The Dutch Government found the project economic, feasible and agreed to construct a bridge over the Karnafuli in Chittagong by reusing a 922m portion of their Eastern Scheldt Bridge under the Dutch Grant BD/86/030. A contract was signed in Dhaka in January 1988 with a Dutch joint venture Interbeton/HCG b.v. for the construction of the bridge. The bridge was scheduled to be completed in December 1989. As per terms of the mutual understanding between the two governments the approach roads were to be constructed by the Bangladesh Government. However, the main bridge was completed in June 1989. Recently the bridge has been named as Shah Amanat Bridge.

The location of the main bridge is about 700m upstream of Iqbal Ghat, about 1.5 km upstream of Sadarghat and about 7 km downstream of Kalurghat Railway Bridge, Chittagong. The carriageway is 7m wide and is two laned. The sidewalk is 1.5m on either side. The floor or decking of the bridge is made up of Azobe timber with protective bituminous stone drips coating. Navigational clearance (ie difference between river water level and base of the bridge) is 12.2 m. The Bridge can resist the wind force upto 200 km per hour. On account of earthquake allowable horizontal force on the bridge is 0.10 G. Maximum allowable velocity of current is 2.5m/sec. Maximum allowable temperature variation is 45'C. Allowable utility line loading is 3 KN/m. Total cost of the project including main bridge and approach roads was Tk 1415.3 million, while total cost of the main bridge was Tk 775.4 million.

The length of the roads from Chittagong side is 5 km and from patiya side is 10.5 km. Total length of the roads including bridge is 16.5 km. The width of the pavement from Bahaddarhat to Fakirer Tek is 7.3m and between Patiya and Anwara road portion is 5.48 m. The crest width of road from Bahaddarhat to Fakirer Tek is 12.2m and between Patiya and Anwara is 9.75m. On detection of crack on the surface planks of the bridge the plying of heavy vehicles was made restricted from 2000. The bridge is now in operation.

The construction of the third Karnafuli Bridge began in August 2006 under the joint financial support of the government of Bangladesh and of Kuwait. The length of the bridge is 950 m and the breadth is 24.4 m. The main bridge with its four-track footpath and dividers measures 830 m of which the viaduct is 120 m. The cost of construction of the bridge including the connecting roads on both sides was estimated at 590 crore taka, out of which the Kuwait government has paid taka 372 crores as loan. The balance is borne by the Bangladesh government. The total expenditure incurred for the construction of the bridge stands as taka 380 crores. The bridge has been constructed by the China Major Bridge Engineering Company Limited. Out of a total of ten pillars of the bridge, four pillars are at the central point of the river and six pillars are on its north and southern sides. It is the only bridge of the country built under Extra Dose Cable Straid technology. The three years termed project though scheduled to be completed in 2009 could not be finished in time due to late in constructing the connecting roads. The bridge was made open for vehicles in September 2010. The bridge will make the communication easier for the people of the region including south Chittagong and Cox's Bazar, and will have positive influence on the economy of the country. [Sifatul Quader Chowdhury and Masud Hasan Chowdhury]

See map in chittagong district.