Construction work for turning Dhaka-Chittagong national highway into four lanes is going on full swing with an auspicious target of finishing the job well ahead of December 2013 deadline. Official sources said 16 percent of this project had already been completed in the past six months after signing of the agreements with three companies on January 10 this year.
"We are expecting that the highway [Dhaka-Chittagong] will be upgraded to four-lane by June 30, 2013, which was earlier scheduled for December 2013," Communication Minister Syed Abul Hossian told BSS July 9.
The minister said all hurdles to the major projects in communication sector, including this four-lane highway, Padma Bridge and elevated expressway, were removed at the sincere and effective initiative of the present government to develop the country's infrastructure.
"People will soon see significant development in communication sector as implementation of some projects are going on full swing when some projects in the pipeline are being considered on priority basis", he said.
Chief engineer of Roads and Highways (R&H) Department Shahabuddin said the biggest barrier to the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway development was land accusation, which was sorted out with the active cooperation from local public representatives.
Besides, he said the project involves constructions of six major bridges, three flyovers, two underpasses, 21 small and medium bridges, 196 culverts, 33 steel foot over bridges and six bus stoppages between Daudkandi toll bridge to Chittagong City gate.
Shahabuddin said the contractors had already built 14 culverts and finished clearing and grooving of 92 kilometers of the 192 kilometers highway project and added that 48 more culverts would be built in two months.
He said development and maintenance of 26 kilometers of the highway on the part of Chittagong also completed, and the job for the rest 166 kilometers would be done within the next dry season.
Apart from these huge tasks, 10 more connecting roads and three bridges will also be constructed for this four-lane highway, the chief engineer said. "The four-lane highway will be ready by June 2013 if the progress of work continues at the current pace," Shahabuddin said.
Chinese company Sinohydro Corporation Ltd was awarded the work of seven road packages as the lowest bidder while two other local firms--Reza Construction and TBL-ACL-JV were given the works of three other road packages of the Taka 1,655 crore-project.
The four-party alliance government in 2005 approved in principle the proposal of the project, but the proposal did not get any headway until the present government's effective measures to implement it.
Additional Project Director of this highway project engineer Mohammad Jayed Alam said all high officials at the R&H department are now working hard as the present government took the project as a priority one since the existing two-lane road has become insufficient to carry the present traffic loads. -BSS