Karnaphuli tunnel work to complete in time


Facing all the hurdles, construction work of the country’s first of its kind under river tunnel at Karnaphuli river is progressing as per its estimated schedule. 

Officials concerned expressed the hope that if the construction work continues at its regular pace, the work will complete within the time frame. 

Project Director Harunur Rashid Chowdhury earlier said, “As all the obstacles related to the project work have been solved, we are hopeful of completing the work on the project within next 18 months”. 

Despite a slowdown due to the corona pandemic the construction work regained its momentum as the Chinese workers returning from their homes rejoined work along with some 640 local engineers, consultants and day-labourers.

The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman tunnel is being constructed under the Karnaphuli river which will be the first of its kind in Bangladesh and is expected to improve the Dhaka -Chattogram -Cox's Bazar highway communication network.

The government had taken the initiative of constructing the proposed 3.4-km long and 10-meter wide tunnel at an estimated cost of Tk 9,880 crore, where Chinese Exim Bank is providing Tk 5,913 crore in loan while Bangladesh is funding the rest. Later, due to the high price of land and other reasons, the project cost increased to Tk 10,300 crore.

The 3.4-km long tunnel has two tubes of 2,450-meter length which is the main part of this tunnel project.

At present, construction of one of the two tubes of the tunnel has been completed and boring work of the other one so far reached 1500 meter. The rest of the work is expected to be completed by scheduled time.

The four-lane tunnel route will pass through the river close to Naval Academy - at Potenga point of Chattogram city on one side and Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) and Karnaphuli Fertilizer Company (KAFCO) at Anowara Upzila on the other. 

The tunnel is being constructed 31 meters below the Kornaphuli river bed. The distance from one of the two tubes to the other is 12 meters. Bangladesh is the largest in South Asia and it is being built in the deepest of the river.

At both ends of the tunnel, construction work of 5.35-km approach road and 728-meter overbridge of the tunnel is also in progress. All these will be completed in time, said the authorities.

This tunnel of Bangladesh would be the largest tunnel in the South Asia region.