The 55-kilometer Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga Expressway, which has connected the capital and the Padma Bridge under construction, has changed the scenario of the country’s communication system.
The expressway built as a priority project of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has created a new era in the road connectivity between the capital and south and south-western parts of the country.
The Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga Expressway, country's first international-standard highway of its kind, has also created a huge opportunity of socio-economic development in the south and south-western parts.
During a recent visit to the Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga Expressway, this correspondent talked to several users of the highway and local people who expressed satisfaction with the construction of the infrastructure.
“The work of this expressway has been completed very rapidly. It seems that this is a road of any developed country. We are very happy and proud to have this road,” Monirul Islam, a resident of Suryanagar area of Shibchar, told Bangladesh Post.
“Now, we can go to Dhaka from Shibchar in a very short time. Earlier, we had to stay on road for hours due to the dilapidated condition of the roads and long tailback,” he added.
Abdul Karim, a resident of Suryanagar area of Shibchar, told Bangladesh Post, “Our long cherished dream has come true with the construction of Padma Bridge and Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga Expressway.”
“This connecting expressway on both sides of the bridge has changed our lifestyle. We will get more benefits when the Padma Bridge is inaugurated,” he added.
The authorities say the number of accidents has decreased on route as the expressway is well-constructed and has six lanes separated by road dividers.
They say the expressway will save time and cost of the farmers and traders to send their goods to the capital.
According to the Roads and Highways Department (RHD), the Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga Expressway project has been implemented by RHD. The 24 Engineer Construction Brigade of the Bangladesh Army has assisted the RHD in implementing the project.
This expressway will become part of the Asian Highway. It will connect Dhaka and Kolkata through the Benapole border and will make international travel more comfortable and easier.
The authorities say the 6-lane expressway has been built keeping in mind the need to increase traffic for the next 20 years.
The highway includes a five-metre wide central reservation, two service roads for slow moving vehicles, three large bridges over the Dhaleshwari and Arial Kha rivers, and 28 culverts and bridges of different lengths, they told the Bangladesh Post.
Mir Nasir Uddin Ujjal, a local journalist and also the president of Munshiganj Press Club, told Bangladesh Post, “The Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga Expressway is a blessing for the people of this region.”
“The aesthetic highway is a great initiative of the incumbent government. It takes very little time to travel between Dhaka and Mawa. Moreover, the number of road accidents has reduced remarkably as the expressway is very wide and it has several lanes.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the expressway earlier in March this year before the end of the construction period. The expressway has been constructed at a cost of Tk 11,003.9 crore. It is one of the pioneering development projects in the country. The people in 21 districts of the south and southwest are directly getting benefits from the expressway.
The Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga Expressway has been designed to drive at a speed of 80km per hour. There are eight ways for vehicles to enter and exit. These entrances and exits are at Babubazar, Jatrabari, Postagola in Dhaka, Hasnabad in Keraniganj, Toll Plaza adjacent to Abdullapur, Abdullapur, Srinagar Flyover and Mawa in Munshiganj.
The expressway with modern facilities aims to ensure easy travel of the people of Khulna, Gopalganj and Barisal region to and from the capital Dhaka.
Sudhin Sarkar, a former chairman of Bhanga Upazila Parishad, said, “This expressway has developed the communication system of the region. Moreover, it is playing a vital role in the economy of the country.”
Padma Bridge authorities said that despite the unfavourable weather and coronavirus pandemic, the construction work of the dream Padma Bridge is going on in full swing.
According to them, five kilometres of the 6.2 kilometre bridge has already become visible while approximately 90 percent of the main work on the bridge has been completed.
The Padma Bridge is likely to be inaugurated by mid-2021 if there is no strong current in the river, sources said.
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