Boring of one part of Karnaphuli tunnel has been completed establishing underwater tube from Chattogram city's Patenga to Anwara upazila, officials said.
They said with the installation of ring of the left side tube, boring of one side of the multilane road tunnel under River Karnaphuli has been completed. The side boring work will begin in four months after taking necessary preparation.
"Total work of boring and ring installation of one tube out of two of the Karnaphuli tunnel project was completed on Saturday," said project director Harunur Rashid Chowdhury.
Boring is excavating the tunnel with a circular cross section through a variety of soil and rock strata.
Expression his satisfaction at the pace the project is being implemented, Mr Harunur Rashid said 57 per cent work of the project has been completed.
He said the tube's underwater boring started from Patenga side of the port city over a year ago and reached Anwara side on Saturday. The Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) is constructing the country's first-ever four-lane 3.4 kilometres tunnel under the river, with an approach road of 4.89km alongside 740 metres of bridge linking the city with the southern regions of Chattogram district.
The BBA initiated the project in December 2017 with the support of China. The estimated cost of the tunnel is Tk 98.80 billion (Tk 9,880 crore), out of which Exim Bank of China will provide Tk 59.13 billion (Tk 5,913 crore).
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the boring on February 24, 2019.
Bridge Division secretary Mohammad Belayet Hossain, BBA Chief Engineer Quazi Ferdous and other senior officials witnessed the completion of boring of the tunnel's first tube at the project site on Saturday.
Mr Hossain told the FE over phone that the contractor has already started preparation for starting boring of the second tube. "Three to four months are necessary to carry out preparation for beginning the boring," he stated.
However, the project director said to make the first tube operational, the contractor will now carry on other internal work inside the tube including establishment of road deck.
The tunnel will reduce the road distance significantly between Chattogram and Cox's Bazar, apart from easing the heavy traffic on Dhaka-Chattogram Highway near the port city's entry point.