The government will seek nearly US$ 1.0 billion funds from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and China to upgrade Faridpur-Barisal-Kuakata highways into four-lane, officials said on Saturday.
They said the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has already requested the Economic Relations Division (ERD) to seek the necessary funds from the development partners.
"In the preliminary talks, the ADB and China have assured us of providing funds for the four-lane highway upgrades. So, we've requested the ERD to seek the money," said a senior RHD official.
"We have already sent the Preliminary Development Project Proposal to the Planning Commission (PC) for getting its green signal for upgrading the 237 kilometers highway," he added.
The department has planned to build the country's longest four-lane highways in the south-western region to make the economic activities vibrant in the countryside.
The road will be constructed from Faridpur to Kuakata via Bhanga-Barisal-Patuakhali.
Meanwhile, the department has planned to prepare two separate project proposals.
The first one will be prepared for upgrading the 125km-long road from Faridpur to Barisal into four-lane where the ADB has offered to finance.
The second one will be framed for building the 112km-long Barisal to Kuakata road into a four-lane highway where China is interested to finance.
"As per our preliminary estimates, the Faridpur-Barisal part will require some US$ 515 million while the Barisal-Kuakata part will require $ 502 million funds," the RHD official said.
For the Faridpur-Barisal part, the department would seek funds from the Manila-based lender and the remaining Barisal-Kuakata part from China, he added.
Meanwhile, the RHD has already taken a project to acquire and develop necessary lands for upgrading the highways to be connected to the tourist town of Kuakata with Faridpur.
Last month, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved a Tk 18.68 billion project for land acquisition for upgrading the highway.
The RHD official said, "Since Bhanga is going to be one of the important transportation hubs in the south-western region after completing the Padma Bridge construction, the four-lane road will play a very important role in connect with the under-developed Kuakata and Barisal."
Besides, the road will be used as the sub-regional transportation corridor as it will connect India and other neighbouring countries crossing the Bangladesh's largest land port Benapole, he added.
For the first time, the government has decided to build the four-lane highways in the countryside as all the current four-lane road projects have been undertaken to connect the Dhaka city, a senior RHD official said.
"We've already constructed the Dhaka-Mymensingh and Dhaka-Chittagong four-lane highways," he said. "We're also developing at least three other four-lane highways such as Joydevpur-Elenga, Elenga-Rangpur and Dhaka-Mawa."
The RHD official said they would complete the land acquisition and its development by June 2021 for preparing the construction work of the highway.
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