Preparation is underway to inaugurate Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel under the Karnaphuli River in Chattogram, as 100 percent of the construction work has been completed.
“The Bangabandhu Tunnel under the Karnaphuli River is getting ready for traffic,” Project Director (PD) Md Harunur Rashid Chowdhury told BSS today.
He said now the finishing touch is going on because Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to open the tunnel on October 28.
The tunnel is fully prepared for vehicular movement, the PD said, adding, “This historic project marks the country’s first-ever underwater tunnel, and preparations for its grand inauguration are underway.”
According to project details, the tunnel that will actually turn Chattogram into “one city with two towns” is being constructed beneath the Karnaphuli River and it is expected to be opened for vehicular movement in October.
It said the multilane tunnel will directly connect the Chattogam Port with Anwara upazila, which will directly connect Cox’s Bazar with Chattogram.
The project details said two tubes, 35 feet wide and 16 feet high, have been constructed within an 11-metre gap so that heavy vehicles can pass through the tunnel easily.
The length of the tunnel is 3.40 kilometres with an approach road of 5.35 kilometres alongside a 740-metre bridge linking the main city, port and Western side of the river with its Eastern side.
As part of the project, bridges, totaling 740 metres in length have been built, linking the main port city and western side of Karnaphuli River with the heavily industrializing eastern side of the river and Anwara upazila.
Bangabandhu’s daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the boring work of the first tunnel tube on February 24, 2019.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese President Xi Jinping jointly laid the foundation stone of the Bangabandhu Tunnel on October 14, 2016. China Communications Construction Company Ltd is working as the contractor of the project.
The tunnel will connect the proposed Asian Highway with Dhaka-Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar Highway along with reducing the distance by 40 km. Vehicles in this tunnel will run at a speed of 80 km per hour, it said.
Bangabandhu Tunnel is being built at a cost of Taka 10,374 crore. The tunnel project is being implemented with joint funding from the governments of Bangladesh and China. The Exim Bank of China is giving a loan of Taka 5,913 crore with a two per cent interest rate while the Bangladesh government is funding the remaining portion.