Construction work on Karnaphuli tunnel to begin in January30 June 2014
Construction work on the much-cherished multi-lane road tunnel under the Karnaphuli river would start from January next year and be completed by December 2018, BSS News Agency quoted Bangladesh's Communications Minister Obaidul Quader as saying in the port city of Chittagong on 27 June.
"The 3.5km long tunnel would be built at a cost of BDT 90bn (USD 1.2bn)," he told journalists after visiting the naval sea beach area, the possible construction site, in Patenga.
The tunnel would join Chittagong to the district's southern upazilas (subdistricts), the minister said, adding the project would reduce traffic congestion on the two bridges over the Karnaphuli river.
"The feasibility study has already been made and acquisition of 1,100 acres of land for the tunnel has also been completed" he added.
The minister announced that a Chinese firm, China Communication Construction Co. (CCCC), and Hong Kong-based Arup have prepared the tunnel's alignment after conducting the feasibility study costing around BDT 140M (USD 1.8M).
"It will be built on a 'Government-to-Government' basis", Quader said, hoping the project would be connected with the proposed Asian Highway and Dhaka-Chittagong-Cox's Bazar Highway.
The minister said the tunnel would open a new vista of hope in trade and commerce in the business hub of Chittagong and overall economic development of the country.
Quader said after the setting up of the tunnel twin cities would be developed on both sides of the Karanaphuli river in addition to establishment of a new industrial zone.
He said the Chinese government has assured Bangladesh of giving financial assistance for the project during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to China in early-June 2014.
The minister also said the government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China for construction of the tunnel.