CHATTOGRAM: A feasibility study on a project to construct a 136-kilometre-long expressway from the port city to tourism town Cox's Bazar under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) has already been completed.
Sources said the study proposed two alternatives regarding developing the Chattogram-Cox's Bazar Highway, one of the important and widely-used highways in the country.
They said, firstly the study made a recommendation to expand the existing highway on both sides and turn it into a six-lane one on the plain land. Secondly, a recommendation has been made in the study to construct an elevated (first-floor) highway in the middle of the existing highway.
Sources said the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges will take a decision on the recommendations made in the study soon.
However, an official at the PPP authority said that a decision is likely to be taken in favour of constructing a 136-km expressway. He also said that the concerned department will start work on building the expressway from Chattogram to Cox's Bazar in the current year.
"The study mainly proposed to develop the highway from Chattogram to Cox's Bazar by constructing an expressway at a cost of Tk 420 billion (Tk 42,000 crore). The Ministry of Road Transport & Bridges will take a decision on the proposals and the authority will start work on building the 136-km-long expressway in the current year," the official mentioned.
Sources said a Japanese company has already come forward to get involved with the construction of the proposed 136-km expressway and the government will take a decision in this regard very soon.
Earlier, the government had negotiated with the Japanese government in 2017 for constructing the PPP project by a Japanese firm. After that, the Roads and Highways Department had formulated a detailed project plan (DPP) for upgrading the existing Chattogram-Cox's Bazar road to a four-lane one at a cost of Tk 130 billion (Tk 13,000 crore) which was submitted to the ECNEC for approval in 2018. But the Prime Minister directed the authorities concerned to undertake a project for the construction of an expressway from Chattogram to Cox's Bazar instead of the proposed four-lane highway.
Accordingly, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has taken a step to implement the project under PPP. A decision was also taken to conduct a feasibility study by an expert team of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET).
Following completion of the study, a decision will be taken soon on whether an elevated expressway will be constructed over the highway or a 6-lane highway with an elevated expressway (first floor) to be built in the middle of the 136-km highway, said an official having a full knowledge of the development plan.