The 16-kilometre Chattogram City Outer Ring Road, being built by the Chattogram Development Authority (CDA), is likely to help mitigate traffic congestion in the port city.
The road, being built at a cost of Tk 2,426 crore, is expected to be opened to the public by January of next year.
The project was undertaken as part of the “Chittagong Metropolitan Master Plan”, which CDA prepared with the help of World Bank in 1995. The plan described a road from Patenga to Foujdarhat as crucial for mitigating traffic congestion and protecting the port city.
Furthermore, the road, built along the Bay of Bengal, will offer commuters the chance to take in the beautiful, unchartered vista of the bay on the stretch from Patenga to Foujdarhat area, opening a new horizon for tourism.
Abdus Salam, CDA chairman, told The Daily Star the road was being constructed as part of a road network plan which aims to reduce traffic congestion in the port city.
“Buses coming from Dhaka or any part of the country can use the road to go to Cox's Bazar, bypassing the busy thoroughfare of the port city”, he said.
There is also a plan to build a new town along the road, and develop a world class tourist area as part of the project, Salam added.
The road will also protect the coastal people from tidal surges, which in 1991 lashed out in the coastal area claiming hundreds of thousands of lives.
Kazi Hasan Bin Shams, project director, told The Daily Star that a strong embankment was necessary to protect important structures like the Chattogram port, CEPZ (Chittagong Export Processing Zone) and Chattogram airport.
The 16km long and 22m wide road would suit that purpose. It will be 33 feet above the sea level so that it can work as an embankment as well as a protective wall against tidal surge, he added.
Vehicles and trucks carrying goods from the port will be able to avoid traffic and ply the road, which will be connected to Dhaka-Chattogram highway.
The road, Hasan said, will also be connected to Anwara using a currently under construction tunnel under the Karnaphuli river.
A stretch of five kilometres of the road will be turned into a tourist spot as Tk 500 crore has been allocated to make an international standard sea beach which, once completed, will be able to accommodate at least 10,000 tourists every day.
Hasan said that there would be jetties so that tourists can descend into the beach, seating arrangements, parking areas, kid zones and food courts, along with security posts.
CDA has completed 75 percent work of the project. Though the road is scheduled to be completed by June 2019, CDA expects it will finish the work by December 2018.
CDA is constructing the road in coordination with Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).
After two years of feasibility tests from 2006, JBIC decided to finance the project. Of the total cost of Tk 2,426 crore, the government's expenditure stands at Tk 1,726 crore and JBIC will provide the additional Tk 700 crore.
CDA began the construction work in 2011.