Now the work on Bangabandhu tunnel is in full swing. If the construction work proceeds at this same pace, it will be finished within the scheduled time, that is December, 2022
Bangabandhu tunnel construction going on in full swing
Published: 22 Jun 2021, 01:36
The construction work of Bangabandhu tunnel under the Karnaphuli river is proceeding in full swing. The photo was taken from the Patenga end of the tunnel on 20 June 2021Jewel Shill
The construction of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel (BSMRT) under the Karnaphuli river is going on in full swing as two hurdles have already been resolved, officials have said.
The coronavirus transmission and the land acquisition were the two major problems at the beginning of the construction work.
If the construction work proceeds at the current pace, it will be finished within the scheduled time, that is December, 2022. And then it will be opened for vehicular movement, the officials concerned hope.
The Chattogram city end of the underwater tunnel has started near Patenga Naval Academy.
Excavation of the first tube, which started from this end, started on 2 August 2020. Excavation of the tube from the Anwara end of the river started on 12 December the same year.
The tunnel will start from the city end and will run through the middle of the boundary between Kafko and CUFL to connect with Anwara end of the Karnaphuli river. A “one city two town system” will be set up in Chattogram following the Shanghai model in China.
The first ever underwater tunnel of the country is named after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The estimated cost of this project is Tk 103.74 billion (10,374 crore). There is a possibility of the country’s GDP to be increased by 0.17 per cent once the project is completed.
Harunur Rashid Chowdhury, director of the tunnel project, told Prothom Alo that there were complications due to the pandemic and land acquisition at the beginning. However, the problem is solved now. Therefore, the authorities concerned are expecting to open the tunnel for vehicular movement within the next 18 months.
The length of the main tunnel is 3.32 kilometres. The length of each tube of the tunnel is 2.45 kilometres and the diameter is 10.8 metres. The tunnel will contain four lanes altogether, two in each tube.
There will be 5.35 kilometres of linking roads connecting the main tunnel at the western and eastern ends. Besides, a 727-metre over bridge will be constructed.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina made a pledge to construct this tunnel during an election campaign before the general election in 2008. The initiatives for the construction of this tunnel began after the Awami League had come to power.
The engineers concerned say the bridges authority, the China Communication Construction Company Limited (CCCCL) and Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Limited jointly conducted a survey on the engineering of the tunnel and the finance in 2012.
Later during prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to China in June 2014, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the basis of the G2G agreement. It was the Chinese government that chose CCCCL for the construction of the tunnel. On 30 June that year, the bridges authority and CCCCL signed a trade deal.
According to the officials concerned, the work on the construction of an economic zone, a deep sea port and a power plant are also going in the area between the southern banks of Karnaphuli and Cox’s Bazar.
All of these constructions are based on the construction of the tunnel. Everyone is waiting to enjoy the multiple advantages of the tunnel. The tunnel will also boost the tourism sector of Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar.
Once the tunnel is open for vehicular movement, Chattogram-bound vehicles would not need to go through the main city. People would be able to reach their destination quickly through the tunnel via Chattogram’s outer ring road. Subsequently it will decrease the pressure of vehicles in the Chattogram city.
Progress of the project
Till now, the biggest progress is the completion of the excavation of one of the two tubes in the tunnel and the road construction has already started in that tunnel. As of last May, 788 metres of roadways have been constructed. The excavation of the second tube is ongoing. So far, excavation of 1,610 metres has been completed.
Apart from these, the construction of a flood gate at the Patenga end of the tunnel has been completed. The two linking roads are also under construction. And the construction of the 727-metre bridge also progressed a lot.
According to the monthly progress report of the project, as of May this year, the physical progress of the project is 75 per cent.
The progress of the project was hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, said the engineers concerned. The project progressed by only 15 per cent in the time between 26 March 2020 and April 2021.
Engineers affiliated with the project said the project was greatly hampered by the pandemic as the construction company is Chinese. Besides, different sorts of construction materials are also brought from China and the supply was affected by the coronavirus. After the emergence of coronavirus in the country, construction work was conducted on a limited scale. However, the project did not progress much amid the first lockdown.
Of the major works of the project, the construction work of the linking road is going on. And some 362.32 acres of land has already been acquired. The total requirement is 382.8 acres of land. The rest of the land is also in the process of rapid acquisition.