The country’s first-ever expressway from Dhaka to Faridpur’s Bhanga upazila is going to be opened for public next month as construction work of the road is almost done.
However, users will get the full benefits of the expressway once the construction work of Padma bridge is completed, RHD officials said, adding that they might have to wait about one and a half years.
After that the road user would be able to reach Bhanga from the capital (around 75km) within an hour, they said.
“The project summary has already been sent to the prime minister office and we have requested her to inaugurate it,” Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said yesterday.
Expressway is a highway especially planned for high-speed traffic, usually having no or fewer number of intersections, limited points of access or exit, and a divider between lanes for traffic moving in opposite directions.
Roads and Highways Department (RHD) is implementing the project at the cost of Tk 10,964.15 crore.
The construction work began in September 2018 and supposed to be completed in June 2020, according to project documents.
Under the project, Bangladesh Army is upgrading the 55km-long Dhaka-Khulna Highway to four-lane.
There will be separate service lanes for the slow-moving vehicles on both sides from Jatrabari to Mawa (around 35km) and Pachchar to Bhanga (around 20km), project documents show.
An army official involved in the project said all the remaining works would be completed within this month, except a bridge on a branch road.
There will be 11 controlled access (entry or exit) points to the road, the official added.
Abdus Sabur, the immediate-past project director on behalf of RHD, said Padma bridge is an integral part of the expressway and the road would be fully functional once the construction work of the bridge is completed.
Although it would be a toll road, people unwilling to pay toll would be able to use the service roads, he added.
He said they would start taking toll once Padma Bridge becomes operational and then road users would start getting the real benefit of the expressway, he said.
A top RHD official said a committee was formed to deal with the toll-related issues of the project.
The committee has recommended that the toll collection starts after the construction work of Padma bridge is completed, he also said.
“People may feel aggrieved if we start collecting toll without offering the full benefits of the expressway,” he added.
The new deadline to complete the construction of the country’s largest bridge is June 2021. The overall progress of Padma Multipurpose Bridge project is 77 percent while the main bridge witnessed an 86 percent progress, Quader said yesterday.
He said 23 out of the 41 spans have already been installed while the construction of approach roads on both sides have been completed.