Hardinge Bridge

Hardinge Bridge (Bengali: হার্ডিঞ্জ ব্রিজ) is a steel railway bridge over the river Padma located at Paksey in western Bangladesh. It is named after Lord Hardinge, who was the Viceroy of India from 1910 to 1916. The bridge is 1.8 kilometers (1.1 mi) long.

Construction

Construction of the bridge began in 1910, though it was proposed at least 20 years earlier. It took almost 2 years for it to be completed, and trains started moving on it in 1915[citation needed].

Brief history

The construction of a railway Bridge over the Padma was proposed in 1889 by the Eastern Bengal Railway for easier communication between Calcutta and the then Eastern Bengal and Assam. In 1902, Sir FJE Spring prepared a report on the bridge. A technical committee reported that a bridge could be constructed at Sara crossing the lower Ganges between Paksey and Bheramara Upazila stations on the broad gauge railway from Khulna to Parbatipur Upazila. The construction of the bridge started in 1910 and finished two years later.[1] The bridge comprises 15 steel trusses. The main girders are modified 'Petit' type.

The total cost of construction of the bridge, including the main spans, land spans, training work and approaches was 35,132,164. However, the most difficult task of the operation was river control or to make the impetuous river flow permanently under the bridge. For this, two guide banks of the 'Bell-bound' type named after Mr. J.R.Bell were built on either side, each totaling 4,000' long extending 3,000' above the bridge and 1,000' downstream. The ends of the river banks were curved inward and heavily pitched with stoned boulders.

Hardinge Bridge was severely damaged during the Liberation War of Bangladesh of 1971.[2] It happened on 13 December 1971, when the Indian Air Force plane bombed on the 4th guarder from the Paksey side. As the Pakistani army was on retreat towards Jessore (their last stronghold) Hardinge Bridge was strategically very important. The allied force damaged the bridge. The Japanese Government helped to reconstruct the bridge.

It is the second largest railway bridge in Bangladesh. Another bridge named Lalon Shah Bridge for road transport beside the Hardinge Bridge has recently been constructed.

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