Chattogram Bureau: Work to build the country’s first and South Asia’s largest underwater expressway tunnel ‘Bangabandhu Tunnel’ under Karnafuli River in Chattogram is going on in full swing. So far, 71 percent of the total work has been completed. If the construction work proceeds at the current pace, it will be finished within the scheduled time, that is December 2022, project officials said.
Visiting the spot our correspondent reported that a tube has been fully laid from Patenga end of the city to Anwara end through the bottom of Karnafuli river. The work of installing the second tube is also about
70 percent completed. Besides, construction work is underway on the back road through the first tube, through which vehicles will pass.
The project director of the tunnel Harunur Rashid Chowdhurys said there were obstacles in the construction work due to corona and land acquisition. We have overcome both. Work is also going on in full swing. We hope that the tunnel will be opened for traffic within the stipulated time.
The excavation of the first tube on the outskirts of the city ended on August 2 last year. On December 12 of the same year the excavation of the tube at the end of Anwara began.
The tunnel will start from the city end and will run through the middle of the boundary between Kafko and CUFL to connect with the Anwara end of the Karnaphuli river. Through this, a “one city two town system” will be set up in Chattogram following the Shanghai model in China.
The first-ever underwater tunnel of the country is named after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The estimated cost of this project is Tk 103.74 billion (10,374 crores). There is a possibility of the country’s GDP to be increased by 0.17 percent once the project is completed.
The tunnel’s total length will be around 9.3 kilometers, with a 3.4-kilometer part under Karnaphuli river, and an approach road of 5.25 kilometers alongside 727 meters of an over-bridge.
Each tube of the tunnel will have two lanes and would allow one-way traffic. One would allow vehicles to move from the city to Anwara and the other in the opposite direction, said Harun. The length of each tube would be 2.45km and diameter 11.8 metres, officials said. China Communication and Construction Company Limited (CCCC) is constructing the tunnel.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese President Xi Jinping laid the foundation stone of the project on October 14, 2016. Later, on 24 February 2019, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina officially inaugurated the construction of Karnafuli Tunnel or Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel. The construction cost of the tunnel is estimated at Tk 10,384 crore. Of which,
China Exim Bank is financing Tk 5,913.19 crore as project loan. Besides, the rest is funded by the Government of Bangladesh (GoB).
The construction of the tunnel will accelerate the development of the proposed industrial area on the east bank of the Karnafuli River. The improved and easy communication system will be established with Chattogram city, Chattogram port, and airport located at the western end. Travel time and cost will be reduced.
Besides, the process of transporting raw materials and manufactured goods from the eastern part of the country to the north-western part of the country including Chattogram port and airport will be easier. The establishment of an easy communication system with the eastern bank of Karnafuli river will develop the tourism industry in the eastern bank.
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