Construction of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge in Bangladesh has missed its current deadline of June next year due to delays caused by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The deadline for the Padma Bridge has now been extended to June 2022.

Due to the delay in construction, the tenure of Korea Expressway Corporation, which is supervising the bridge construction, has been extended by 34 months until June 2023.

Bangladesh finance minister Mustafa Kamal was quoted by NEWAGE as saying during an online briefing that things had been running on schedule until the Covid-19 outbreak caused unexpected challenges.

Kamal added: “When we set the 2021 deadline, no one could have imagined such a virus situation. Things were smooth. But the pandemic has impeded everything. We hope the construction will be completed by the new date.”

Approval was provided in the cabinet committee as the consultancy service was scheduled to expire this month.

The extension will cost the government an additional BDT3.28bn ($38.7m). However, this will not escalate the overall project cost.

Following the World Bank’s allegation of ‘attempt of corruption’ in 2012 and cancellation of a loan worth $1.2bn, the government decided to build the bridge using its own fund.

Initially, the 6.15km bridge across the River Padma was estimated to cost BDT101.6bn ($1.2bn).

The bridge project was scheduled to be completed by 2014, according to the first Development Project Proforma.

The deadline for completing its construction has been extended four times.

The project is expected to generate employment opportunities for more than 743,000 people in the region.