A fresh move is underway to upgrade the Dhaka-Sylhet highway to a four-lane one at a cost of Tk 132.480 billion.
The 226-kilometre highway is a vital part of the BCIM (Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar) Corridor-1 and Asian Highway 1 and 2.
To this end, roads and highways division (RHD) recently submitted a proposal to the ministry concerned for funding the project.
Commenting on the issue, road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader said, "We're expecting the project to start soon."
Because of nagging traffic congestion, RHD officials said, it takes five long hours to travel from Kanchpur to Sylhet.
As planned, there will be a service lane on either side of the road.
Besides, there will be three truck parking areas by the wayside -- one each in Narsingdi, Brahmanbaria and Habiganj.
The project will cover 214.4 kilometres and the work will be done under 12 packages.
Apart from upgrading the road to four lanes from existing two ones, several other building works are included in the project.
Seventy bridges and 321 culverts will be built on this road. It will also have five rail overpasses, four flyovers, 10 underpasses and 42 footbridges.
Two rest houses will also be built -- one at Aushkandi in Hobiganj and the other at Kuttapara in Brahmanbaria.
Detailing the costing, officials said Tk 93.431 billion out of the total cost of Tk 132.480 billion would be spent on construction.
Tk 1.675 billion will be used for maintenance and Tk 14.014 billion for contingency measures.
Besides, Tk 23.357 billion is earmarked for price adjustment, the RHD officials said.
Citing the present status of highway development, they said Dhaka-Chattogram and Dhaka-Mymensingh roads are already turned into four lanes.
Work on upgrading Dhaka-Tangail highway into a four-lane one is almost over, they continued.
Work on upgrading Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga and Elenga-Hatikumrul-Rangpur highways into four-lane ones is ongoing.
A feasibility study and the detailed design of work on 1,752-kilometre highway are already done under a project titled 'Sub-regional road transport project preparatory facilities'.
An estimated 21,595 kilometres fall under the national highway network under roads and highway department.