DHAKA, Feb 11, 2019 : Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader today expressed his optimism that the 3.4 kilometer-long Karnaphuli river tunnel construction project, first of its kind in Bangladesh, will end by December, 2022.
“The progress of the project is now 32 percent. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the digging of Karnaphuli tunnel on February 24,” he told newsmen after attending a 4-year deal signing ceremony at the Setu Bhaban between Bangladesh Bridge Authority and Bangladesh Navy to provide overall security in the underwater expressway tunnel construction.
Bangladesh Bridge Authority Chief Engineer Quazi Muhammad Ferdous and Naval Operations Director and Chief Coordinator of Safety and Security Supervision Consultant of Bangladesh Navy Commodore Mohammad Mahmudul Malek inked the Taka 65 crore deal on behalf of respective sides.
Bridge Division Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam and Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Aurangzeb Chowdhury, high officials of Bangladesh Bridge Authority and Bangladesh Navy were present on the occasion.
The 3.4 kilometer-long and 10 meter-wide underwater expressway river tunnel project is being implemented at a cost of Taka 9880.40 crore.
Of the total amount, Taka 3967.21 crore comes from government allocation while Taka 5913.19 crore from Chinese government’s financial cooperation.
According to descriptions read at the project’s website, the tunnel project includes approximately 6 kilometers of connecting roads, and will connect the port of Chattogram to the industrial area of the city to relieve pressure on the three existing bridges.
The tunnel is expected to improve the Dhaka-Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar highway network and will connect to the Asian Highway Network and reduce traffic congestion in the port city Chattogram.
Once completed, the tunnel will be used to bypass Chattogram city to ease communication between Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar.
The Bangladeshi Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges signed an agreement with China Communications Constructions Company (CCCC) Limited to build the tunnel, in November 2015.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the inauguration of the project in 2016.
The ECNEC approved the project, in May 2017.
COWI, a Danish company, was appointed to provide the design and construction management, and construction started in August 2017. This project is part of One Belt One Road Initiative.