Economic
Economic

The 193-km Dhaka-Chittagong highway, considered Bangladesh’s economic lifeline, was riddled with holes and hollows and used to see nagging tailbacks regularly due to its shabby condition.

But things have remarkably.

All these troubles are now a thing of the past as the highway connecting the Bangladeshi capital city of Dhaka with the country’s premier seaport city, Chittagong, has been expanded to four lanes from two.

A new dimension has been added to the country’s road communications since the inauguration of the four-lane highway in July last year, by the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The travel time between Dhaka and Chittagong, the latter located some 242 km southeast of the capital city, has been drastically reduced to about five hours from 10-15 hours.

The busiest road carrying tens of thousands of people has struggled in recent years to accommodate the rising volume of traffic.

The 193-kilometer Dhaka-Chittagong Four-Lane National Highway has been constructed at a cost of 38.16 billion taka (about 482 million U.S. dollars) under 15 packages.

As part of expanding the highway, two underpasses, 14 bypasses, 242 culverts, 23 bridges, 61 bus bays and 39 footbridges have been constructed.

Chinese state-owned Sinohydro Corporation Limited, one of the largest international companies, implemented the main seven packages of the road’s construction for 16 billion taka.

It has built 139 kilometers of the 193-kilometer four-lane highway, from the Daudkandi sub-district of Comilla district, some 96 km east of Dhaka, to Chittagong City Gate.

The remaining 54 kilometer four-lane highway was constructed by two local firms.

Officials said the Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction giant in January 2010 signed an agreement with the Bangladeshi government on a condition of completing the work by 2013.

But the project was reportedly delayed because of shortage of soil, land acquisition problems, political instability and other complications.

The project, however, was completed on June 23, 2016, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated it on July 2.

Direct beneficiaries of the highway expressed their deep satisfaction as the Chinese company completed the challenging expansion tasks.

They said the highway would surely help boost the country’s trade, commerce and investment and contribute to the economy immensely.

“The Dhaka-Chittagong highway expansion work was completed excellently,” said a local resident, Sona Isa Ahul Kashem, from the Chauddagram sub-district of Comilla on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway.

He said the previous road was far too narrow but now he has witnessed increased movement of people and traffic.

“Now it’s a very big and first class highway. People are enjoying the benefits of the expansion,” Kashem said.

He said the Chinese company deserves a huge round of applause as it worked extremely hard and completed the work in excellent fashion.

Anwar Hossain, another local resident, whose house is located in Gunabati village under Comilla, said “Previously it took 4-5 hours for us to get to Dhaka from here. It’s now easy for us to get to Dhaka and only takes two hours.”

“So far we understand that the Chinese company completed the entire project in the shortest possible time. We are very happy,” he added.

Abdul Akher, who often drives on the highway also praised the Chinese company, saying the Dhaka-Chittagong highway was excellently expanded and constructed.

“The Chinese company produced a flawless piece of construction to enhance infrastructure here. This benefits passengers immensely,” he said adding, “Such a high quality of work we haven’t seen here in the past 50 years. Everybody agrees, its a great piece of engineering and of a very high standard.”

Sinohydro Corporation’s Deputy Project Manager, Chen ZhengShan, said their experts have tried their best to expand the highway in straight lines as much as possible so that vehicles can travel much faster and prevent accidents.

He said traffic control instruments, including, signs, signals, pavement markings, and other devices have been placed along the highway to ensure the safe and efficient movement of both vehicles, drivers and passengers.

There has already been some reduction in the the number of fatal accidents on this highway, he added.

“I am very happy to have the opportunity to work on this highway project.”

Cheng Jian, meanwhile, an engineer of the Dhaka-Chittagong four-lane project, also expressed his happiness as the Dhaka-Chittagong four-lane highway project has now been completed.

“And all the people who travel on this highway will now benefit from this project.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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