The projected high spending for land acquisition has propelled the cost of Dhaka-Chittagong Expressway project to Tk 335 billion.
The cost for land acquisition in the project is 68 per cent higher than the cost of its civil work and main structure component.
Sources said the total project cost of the expressway is likely to be nearly nine times higher than the cost of Dhaka-Chittagong four-lane project, implemented on the same corridor.
The Roads and Highways Department (RHD) completed the Dhaka-Chittagong four-lane project last year, spending about Tk 38 billion.
Under the project, RHD has widened the 190-km kilometre two-lane highway to a four-lane one along with construction of three flyovers and overpasses.
The sources also said now the agency has estimated the cost for constructing the 217-km Dhaka-Chittagong Expressway at Tk 199.82 billion without the land acquisition cost.
They said the nine times higher cost has been estimated for the expressway project on the same highway mainly to acquire land for it.
Project office sources said an additional Tk 135.40 billion will be required for the public-private partnership (PPP) project to acquire 775 hectares of land and carry out utility shifting work, which was not required for the Dhaka-Chittagong four-lane project.
Besides, most of the land across the entire corridor of the four-lane project was acquired in 1960s.
When asked about the huge gap between the costs of the two projects, Project Director (PD) Ruhul Amin said the expressway project has been designed incorporating new components.
He also said the entire Dhaka-Chittagong Expressway will be a six-lane one on both surface and elevated levels consisting of seven interchanges.
The project has been designed with all required components to ensure uninterrupted traffic movement and to facilitate high speed of vehicles to reach Chittagong from Dhaka within three to four hours.
RHD project office has initiated a separate project to complete land acquisition and utility shifting work.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges has taken the Dhaka-Chittagong Expressway project in 2013 to facilitate smooth movement of vehicles. It includes transportation of containers on the corridor, which is considered the lifeline of economy, linking the capital Dhaka and the Chittagong Port.
The project, however, was delayed due to a government decision to construct the entire corridor as an elevated one along with high-speed train movement facility.
RHD, in the meantime, finalised the alignment and completed the detailed design work of the project. But the agency could not start its work due to the dilemma. Finally the project work resumed last year.