60% construction work of Karnaphuli Tunnel is already done, once completed the tunnel will be a part of Asian Highway
Construction of the Karnaphuli Tunnel, the first underwater road network in South-Asia, has gained momentum after most of the foreign engineers and officials returned to their duty in Chittagong.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel under the Karnaphuli River, popularly known as Karnaphuli Tunnel is undergoing construction – engaging 273 Chinese engineers and officials; one third of them got stuck in China due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Since their rejoining in February, the work of the construction site in Chittagong gained tremendous momentum.
According to the progress report, the bore for installing a tube under the river was completed on August 2, and boring for installing the second tube will start by December. Each of the two tubes will have a two-lane road – making the tunnel a four-lane road.
The main tunnel’s length is 3.5km, of which 2.5km is under the Karnaphuli River. Boring work for 2.5km of one of the tubes, is already completed and the installation of the tube is underway.
On Thursday, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said around 60% of construction work for Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel has already been completed amid the pandemic.
He made the statement at the 109th board meeting of Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA). The minister joined the meeting virtually.
Project Director Harun-or-Rashid said the boring work for installing the second tube would begin by the second week of December as all of the staff are now on board.
He told Dhaka Tribune that around 273 Chinese and 654 Bangladeshi engineers, officials and workers have been working in order to complete the project by December 2022.
The project in brief
China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) and China Road and Bridge Engineering Company (CRBC) are building the tunnel at a cost of Tk9,880 crore, to turn Chittagong into “One City Two Towns” following the model of Shanghai city in China.
The total length of the proposed tunnel will be around 9.092km, including the 3.5km of tunnel under the Karnaphuli River.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese President Xi Jinping laid the foundation stone on October 14, 2016.
Benefit of the project
The proposed multi-lane tunnel will connect Chittagong city with the other side of the Karnaphuli River. It will also make connection between the proposed Asian Highway and the Dhaka-Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar Highway aiming to make regional connectivity easier.
The much-awaited 3.5km tunnel will also reduce the distance between Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar by roadway, apart from easing the heavy port-city-bound traffic from Dhaka.
The tunnel will greatly improve the development of the regional economy in Bangladesh as well as play an important role in interconnectivity between Bangladesh and its neighboring countries.