Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday inaugurated the mining work of the much-awaited Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel under the Karnaphuli River.
The Prime Minister launched the boring work of the tunnel by unveiling its plaque at a function at Patenga in Chattogram Sunday morning.
On the same venue, the Bangladesh premier also launched the construction of the Chattogram elevated expressway which aims to ease heavy vehicular movement inside the port city.
The PM reached Chattogram on Sunday morning to inaugurate two mega projects. The projects include the construction work of a tunnel under the Karnaphuli river and a 17-kilometre-long elevated expressway.
The 3.5 kilometres long four-lane tunnel, the first in the country, will be built at a cost of Taka 9,880 crore to make Chattogram ‘One City Two Towns’, modelled on east and west Shanghai of China, officials said.
The total length of the proposed tunnel will be around 9.092 kilometres, including 3.40 kilometres of tunnel under the Karnaphuli River with an approach road of 4.89 kilometres alongside 740 metres of bridges linking the main port city and western side of the Karnaphuli along with the heavy industry-prone eastern side of the river.
The tunnel route will pass through the river close to Navy College on one side and Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) and Karnaphuli Fertiliser Company (Kafco) on the other.
It will cut the road distance between Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar, apart from easing the traffic on Dhaka-Chittagong Highway entering the port city to go to other parts of Chattogram division.
The multilane tunnel will connect Chattogram Port and Anowara Upazila and is expected to make communication between Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar easier, besides reducing traffic congestion on two bridges over the Karnaphuli river.
Chinese firm China Communication Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) has been appointed as consultant for construction of the tunnel, the source added.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese President Xi Jinping jointly laid its foundation stone on October 14 in 2017.
The construction of the proposed Elevated Expressway starting from Lalkhan Bazar to Shah Amanat Airport worth Taka 3,250 crore will also be inaugurated.