Ahead of Bangabandhu Tunnel inauguration, extensive road construction work on both shores is needed to get the highest use of the tunnel, otherwise, massive traffic congestion can ruin the outcome of the project at the beginning, fear city experts.
There is a possibility of massive traffic jams along several roads with tunnels at the Patenga end. However, Chattogram Development Authority (CDA) has said realising that they have already taken a project which may take another year to complete and keep the tunnel traffic congestion free.
The traffic route in the Patenga section of the Bangabandhu Tunnel is joined by the elevated expressway, ring road and several inner city roads. Everyday huge traffic jams are witnessed there. In this continuation, it is feared that the traffic congestion will increase several times when the tunnel is opened.
According to city statistics, there will be 40,000 to 50,000 vehicles per day around the tunnel at Patenga Point. But even though the tunnel is about to open by next month, nothing has been done to handle the excessive pressure of vehicles. In this situation, the Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP) has given some recommendations on tunnel-centric traffic management.
According to CMP Commissioner Krishnapada Roy, a total of 3 roads, including Ring Road, Airport Road and another local road, will disrupt the tunnel. We have requested the appropriate authorities to consider a better design to face the crisis.
CDA said that to deal with this crisis, new initiatives have been taken in the construction of infrastructure including U-loop, Underpass and others.
CDA has finalized a plan for traffic management around the tunnel, whose design is also final. Under this plan, 4 overpasses and underpasses will be constructed in addition to the U-loop. CDA Chief Engineer Hasan Bin Shams said that they have targeted each point so that vehicles can easily move through all points. The issue has been included in the Ring Road Revise Project instead of taking up new projects to reduce time. The potential cost including land acquisition has been estimated at Tk 700 crore and this will take about a year.
According to project details, over 94 percent work of the 'Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel' has already been completed. It is expected that all works of the tunnel will be completed in January next. The tunnel will be opened for public within the next month. It is expected that the tunnel will contribute 0.166 percent in the growth of the national economy.
The government has taken the project for building the port city of Chattogram like the Chinese city of Shanghai based on the ‘One City, Two Town’ design. A modern communication system will be developed with Cox's Bazar, Banshkhali, and Matarbari power plants and Matarbari deep sea port via Anwara crossing through the Karnaphuli tunnel.
On February 24, 2019, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the boring work of the first tunnel tube and on December 12, 2020. Road Transport and Bridges Minister ObaidulQuader opened the boring work of the second tube.
Starting from the Naval Academy end of Patenga in Chattogram, the tunnel goes under the river between Chattogram Urea Fertilizer Limited and Karnaphuli Fertilizer Limited factories in Anwara.
The length of the main tunnel is 3.32 km and it has two tubes, each with two lanes. These two tubes will be connected through three junctions (cross passages). These cross passages will be used for access to other tubes in case of emergency.
The length of the tunnel tube is 2.45 km and the inner diameter is 10.80 meter.
There is a 5.35 km connecting road to the west and east of the main tunnel.
The tunnel project is being implemented with the joint funding of the governments of Bangladesh and China (G2G). The total cost of the project is around Taka 10,537 crores.
The Exim Bank of China is giving a loan of Taka 5,913 crore while the Bangladesh government is funding the rest.