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Staff Correspondent
Karnaphuli Tunnel, which is Bangladesh’s as well as South Asia’s first ever tunnel under river, will be named after Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The main construction of the tunnel will be started after inauguration of the boring work on February 24 by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader revealed this information while speaking at an agreement signing ceremony in the capital on Monday.
The agreement was signed between Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) and Bangladesh Navy at the Bridge Bhaban to ensure security during the construction of the Karnaphuli Tunnel.
BBA chief engineer Kazi Md Ferdous and Naval operation director as well as chief coordinator of safety and security supervision consultant Commodore Mahmudul Malek signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides.
Obaidul Quader said the progress of the project as of now is 32 per cent, and the construction work will be completed by December 2022.
As per the agreement, Bangladesh Navy will provide overall security to the tunnel project work, the minister said, adding that it will cost Tk 66 crore and the agreement duration is four years.
About the construction cost, he said, total construction cost of the tunnel is Tk 9880.40 crore. Of the total amount, the government will provide Tk 3967.21 crore while the Chinese government is providing Tk 5913.19 crore as assistance.
The main tunnel will be 3.4 kilometres long in two tubes under the Karnaphuli. Some 5.35 kilometre approach roads on both the east and the west sides of the tunnel and a 727-metre bridge will connect Anwara with Chattogram, Obaidul Quader added.
Once the project is completed, it will connect Chattogram with Cox’s Bazar through a bypass while reducing traffic congestion and making journey from Chattogram to Cox’s Bazar, and vice versa, easier.
According to the project data, simultaneous train and road communications under the tunnel are expected to be introduced for the first time in the country. Located at the estuary of the Karnaphuli, the dual two-lane shield-driven tunnel will serve both urban and transit traffic and will relieve the traffic pressure on the existing two bridges.
Already, the authority handed over 232 acres of land out of 383 acres to the construction company — China Communication and Construction Limited (CCCC). Counting the project construction work from December 2017 will be completed by next five years.
In the agreement signing programme, senior secretary of BBA Khandaker Anwarul Islam, Bangladesh Navy chief vice admiral Aurangzeb Chowdhury including, other high officials from both sides, were also present.