Padma bridge. COURTESY
During last 50 years, Bangladesh has seen tremendous improvement in road communication sector. Especially in the last decade, there was a massive development in this sector. Massive development works are in progress— from the Padma bridge to metrorail and elevated expressway.All kinds of infrastructures including the Karnafulitunnel and flyovers in big cities are being developed across Bangladesh.
Constructions of different communication systems like new highways, bridges, flyovers, marine drives, elevated expressways are in progress. A lot of work has already been done.Several such projects are in the final phases. These works are going on using domestic as well as foreign financing.
While inaugurating three bridges in Magura, Narayanganj and Jessore and an ‘Independence Square’ in Pabnalast November, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “The wheel of the country's economy is in a motion as the Awami League government has been able to build a massive communication network across the country.”
“We have started lot of works and we will complete those too,” she added.
According to the Department of Roads and Highways, there are currently 21,302km of national and regional highways and district roads, 4,404 bridges and 14,794 culverts under the Road Transport and Highways Department across the country. Total 4,331km of highways have been strengthened and 5,161 kilometers have been widened. 417km of national highways have been upgraded to four lanes or more. Besides, another 1,752km of national highways are being upgraded to four lanes across the country. At the same time each road will be upgraded to four lanes with two separate lanes for slow moving vehicles in the future. The feasibility study and complete design of these roads have already been completed. Works on the remaining roads will also be completed in phases.
The 190km Dhaka-Chattogram National Highway - the lifeline of the country's economy, has been upgraded to four lanes. Dhaka-Mymensingh, Nabinagar-Chandra highways and Chattogram-Hathazari roads have been upgraded to four lanes with inclusion of dividers. Various roads in Rangpur have been upgraded to four lanes. A 60km longscenic marine drive has been constructed from Cox'sBazar to Teknaf.
Aimed at increasing the capacity of Dhaka’s public transport, the construction work of metro rail from Uttara to Bangladesh Bank is progressing rapidly. Once the metro rail is built, 60,000 passengers will be able to travel in both directions every hour. Besides, the feasibility study of Metro Rail Route-1 and Route-5 has been completed.
The Dhaka-Mawa-Pachchar-Bhanga highway with separate lanes for slow moving vehicles has been upgraded to four lanes in collaboration with the Bangladesh Army. It is the first expressway in the country.
The four-lane Joydebpur-Tangail-Elenga highway is being upgraded with ADB funding. Construction of high speed bus rapid transit or BRT route from Gazipur crossroads to the airport is underway.
The construction of 48.73km long Dhaka Elevated Expressway PPP project including a ramp from HazratShahjalal International Airport to Kutubkhali on Dhaka-Chattogram Highway at a cost of Taka 803.11 crore is also in progress.
Constructions of JICA-supported four-lane second Kachpurbridge, second Meghnabridge and second Gomti bridge on the Dhaka-Chattogram National Highway have been completed. Constructions of several bridges including four-lane Payrabridge and the Third Shitalakhyabridge over the Payra River are underway on the Barisal-Patuakhali National Highway.
Besides, constructions of tunnel under theKarnafuliRiver, 20km elevated expressway from airport to Kutubkhali have started. Elevated expressway from Uttara to Ashulia, flyover construction project in Feni, inauguration of Metrorail and many other development works are major achievements of the government. Apart from these, constructions of several important bridges at different parts of the country, extensive development of communication systems in three hill-tract districts of Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarbans is also one of the significant achievements of the government.
After formation of the Awami League-led grand alliance government in 2008, the first priority was given to overall development of the communication system of the country. The first challenge of the then government was the Padma bridge construction project. The Padma bridge construction project started in early days of the grand alliance government. Work to upgrade the Dhaka-Chattogram highway and the Joydebpur-Mymensingh highway to four lanes is also nearing completion. Thanks to regular monitoring by the Prime Minister's Office, the work of upgrading the highways from Joydebpur to Mymensingh into four lanes is already in the final stage. Apart from this, Chandra-Nabinagar highway has been upgraded to four lanes. According to sources, 226km Dhaka-Sylhet highway, Sylhet-Tamabil land port road, 212km of Daulatdia-Magura-Jhenaidah-Jessore-Khulna-Mongla highway, 158km of Hatikumrul-Rangpur-Burimari land port and Tekerhat-Kuakata highways will be upgraded to four lanes within next few years.
Meanwhile, a three-and-a-half kilometre tunnel is being constructed on the KarnafuliRiver in Chattogram. More than half of the tunnel has already been completed. Starting from the Patenga Naval Academy at one end, the route will cross the Kafco and CUFL border and connect to the Karnafuli-Anwara end. The target is to open the tunnel for public after December 2022. Then Karnafuli and Anwaraupazilas on south bank of the river will be connected with the main city.Chattogram will be transformed into a city resembling China’s Shanghai. ‘BangabandhuSheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel’ this will be the first project of this kind in the country.
In addition to the existing bridges over the Shitalakhya, Meghna and Gomti rivers, three more new bridges have been constructed. The work of a 20km long flyover from Kaulia area adjacent to the airport to Kutubkhali in Jatrabari has already started.
The present government has given so much priority to development of communication sector. As part of it, a metro rail is being constructed to make the capital Dhaka traffic-free and facilitate the movement of commuters. The government has taken great strides in this sector in three hill districts as well. The internal roads of these districts have been developed considering boosting the tourism industry. New roads have been constructed to connect Bandarbans with Cox's Bazar.
Besides, a circular road will be constructed in the western part of Dhaka city. The 55.08-meter wide ‘modern’ road will have four lanes for high speed traffic. In addition to two service lanes on each side, there will be 10metre space reserved for the metro rail. Tunnels will be built to connect the services on both sides.
When all these road projects will be completed, the road communication system of the country will undoubtedly witness a radical improvement.