Construction work of Karnaphuli tunnel in full swing as lockdown eased
CHATTOGRAM: The construction work of the second tube of the Bangabandhu Tunnel under the Karnaphuli River is going on in full swing in the post-lockdown period.
Once established, the dream project will connect the south and north portions of the Chattogram district, thus bringing economic prospects for the people in the region.
According to sources, a total of 72 per cent work of the tunnel has already been completed.
Although pace of work was a bit slow during different spells of the Covid-induced lockdown, a target has been set to complete the project by December 2022.
Project Director Harunur Rashid said, "Corona outbreak hampered the construction work earlier. After lockdown, the construction work is now continuing regularly."
After the coronavirus was first detected in the country in March last year, the construction work of the tunnel almost came to a halt due to the government holidays and Covid-induced lockdown on different occasions, he said.
"Fifty-two per cent work of Karnaphuli Tunnel Project was completed before the corona outbreak. Presently, 72 per cent work has already been completed," the project director added.
Mahbubul Alam, president of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said, "The tunnel will strengthen the role of Chattogram as the centre of communication, develop communication on Dhaka-Chattogram-Cox's Bazar national highway, improve communication between both sides of the Karnaphuli River, and lessen the pressure of traffic on the two existing bridges over the river."
It may be mentioned that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the tunnel excavation work on February 24, 2019.
Total expenditure cost of the Bangabandhu Tunnel is estimated at Tk 8446.64 crore ($105.58 crore). Of the total, China is providing Tk 5,505 crore ($70.59 crore), while the Bangladesh government is providing the rest.
The total length of the tunnel will be around 9.1km, including 3.4km under the Karnaphuli River, with a 4.89km approach road alongside 740m of bridges, linking the main port city and western side of the Karnaphuli to the industrial zones on the eastern side of the river.
The tunnel will cut short the distance between Chattogram and Cox's Bazar, apart from easing traffic on the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway entering the port city to go to other parts of Chattogram division.
The multilane tunnel route will pass under the river close to the Navy College on one side and the Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) and Karnaphuli Fertilizer Company (Kafco) on the other.
The tunnel will connect Chattogram port and Anwara upazila.
It will also ease traffic congestion on two bridges over the Karnaphuli River.