Cost of the Dhaka-Mawa Expressway is set to increase once again for adding new components to its supporting project six months before its closure.
The Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has estimated an increase of Tk 2.63 billion for adding new components.
Sources said of the new estimation, the cost is likely to increase by Tk 600 million to redesign and develop two roundabouts near the Padma Bridge, which was not included in the Padma Multipurpose Bridge (PMB) project.
They said the roundabout development works at Mawa and Panchor were supposed to be carried out by the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) to ensure smooth connectivity between the expressway and the country's longest bridge.
"As the BBA has not taken any project in this regard, the RHD has to include the components in its 'Finishing the Unfinished Work of the Dhaka-Mawa Expressway Project', taken in 2017," said an official.
Construction of 24 more foot-over bridges, repair and maintenance works of the existing bridges, a gas station and an office of the RHD have been proposed in the latest revision of the project.
PMB project director M Shafiqul Islam told the FE that the roundabouts were not included as part of the PMB project.
He also said the PMB project contractors completed work of the four-lane approach roads on both sides of the bridge long time back by matching both ends with the RHD's the then two-lane road.
As the expressway is developed with six lanes along with two-lane service roads, redesigning the roundabouts has been necessary, he added.
The RHD has already started working on cost revision of the Tk 41.11-billion 'Finishing the Unfinished Work of the Dhaka-Mawa Expressway Project'.
Officially the project is named as 'Completion of incomplete works to upgrade Jatrabari to Mawa and Pacchor-Bhanga road through Ekuria-Babubazar link road under Dhaka-Khulna (N-8) highway into four-lane.'
As the cost of developing the 55-km Dhaka-Mawa Expressway increased to Tk 110 billion, the road infrastructure project has become the country's costliest one in terms of per kilometre cost.
The length of the highway is 31.7 km from Jatrabari to Mawa, 3.0 km from Babu Bazar to Ekuria, and 20km from Panchor to Bhanga. The Bangladesh Army's 24 Engineering Construction Brigade has been implementing both the main and supporting projects. The expressway was opened for traffic on March 11, 2020.
Tenure of the supporting project ended in June 2020. Its tenure was recently extended by a year to June 2021 by the Project Steering Committee.
Financial progress of the project was recorded 73 per cent, while physical progress was over 90 per cent.
It has eight work components in the original DPP, which included 54 culverts, 19 underpasses, four main bridges, five flyovers, two interchanges and four railway over-bridges.