High pass demonstration scene of Padma Bridge.Reporter Kang Gap Saeng
On the afternoon of the 13th, it was raining at the Padma Bridge near Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The construction of the bridge, which spans the gigantic 6 km wide Padma River, began at the end of 2014 and was inaugurated in June last year after almost eight years of construction. The landscape of big and small boats floating around makes you feel like you are crossing the sea instead of a river. The Padma Bridge, which was built by the Bangladeshi government with nearly 4 trillion won (approximately 441.8 billion yen), is a composite bridge, similar to South Korea’s Yeongjong Bridge, where trains run on the first floor and cars circulate on the second floor. It was a bold investment like no other in Bangladesh, where the annual budget is only 80 trillion won. For this reason, Prime Minister Hasina is said to be a proud member of Bangladesh as she frequently visits him. The Korea Highway Corporation is planting the soul of “K Road” on the said Padma Bridge. Highway Corporation took over the management and operation of the entire 20-kilometre stretch, including the 6.15-kilometre bridge. From May last year to 2027, he will be responsible for traffic management and operation of the Padma Bridge, accident management, toll collection, etc. Business expenses received from the ordering party alone exceed 100 billion won. The Mawa Tollgate, which I stopped at before crossing the Padma Bridge, was under construction. It was about to install an ETC gate and a card-type toll collection system, which is the same as the Korean Tollway. Most people in Bangladesh now pay cash tolls. “Currently, we are using a customer-created temporary toll collection system, but once the related construction is completed, we will operate the same system as in South Korea. The toll collection system was all made in Korea and will be brought here.” These systems are scheduled to go live around the 5th of next month. At the office near the Mawa toll gate, work was underway to build a traffic monitoring center (TMC). It is equipped with a system that can capture the traffic volume, passage status, and toll collection status of Padma Bridge at a glance through cameras, etc., and is run by STRAFFIC, a small company from Korea. from the south. The Korea Highway Corporation has established cooperative relationships with 15 Korean small and medium-sized enterprises for the management and operation of the Padma Bridge. The interior of TMC is said to have been run by a Korean company as well. “If the high pass system is opened, it will be the first time in Bangladesh that we will be able to pay the toll while the car is running without stopping,” said Lim Ho, general manager of EsTraffic Bangladesh. The Padma Bridge toll is 1,300 taka (about 1,700 yen) for a minivan, which is 10 times higher than other roads. It is 2.3 times higher than the 6,600 won (about 730 yen) for the 36.5-kilometre Incheon Airport Expressway. It is said that the government decided to set a high toll to recover the investment amount because the government borrowed a large amount of money to build it. The spread of ‘K Road’ is not limited to Padma Bridge. Highway Corporation also acquired the right to manage and operate the 55-kilometre section of the “N8 Expressway” that connects the Padma Bridge. You will receive around 100 billion won in business expenses over five years. The same high-pass and card-based toll collection system as the Padma Bridge is installed at the Dhaleshwari and Banga toll booths on the N8 highway connecting Dhaka to Banga in the south-west. In the future, the N8 highway will connect with Kolkata, India.