The government yesterday signed a contract with a China-Bangladesh joint venture company for upgrading a portion of 190-kilometre Elenga to Rangpur highway to four lanes to improve road communication between the capital and 16 northern districts.
Under the contract, Chinese firm Hego and local company Mir Akter Hossain Ltd will upgrade 19.8km highway road from west side of Bangabandhu Bridge to Hatikamrul Mor in Sirajganj in the next three years.
Aside from upgrading the portion of the highway, the contractor will maintain it for six years, at a total cost of Tk 675 crore.
Chief Engineer of Roads and Highways Department Ebne Alam Hasan and Leu Xyao Meyo, authorised representative of the joint venture company, signed the contract on behalf of their respective sides at a city hotel.
The project will jointly be financed by the government and Asian Development Bank (ADB), they said. Quazi Shahriar Hossain, director of SASEC Road Connectivity Project-II, said four deals including yesterday's one has already been singed and four others will be signed within March, before the work starts.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Road Transport and Highway Division's Secretary Nazrul Islam, ADB country director Manmohan Parkash were present at the signing ceremony.
As per the deal, the contractor will build seven bridges, 17 culverts, one flyover, five underpasses, 12 bus-bays, one pedestrian overpass and six intersections.
Officials said Elenga-Hatikamrul-Rangpur is an important part of the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) corridor, Asian Highway, Bimstec Corridor and Saarc Highway.
The existing two-lane highway is inadequate for carrying passengers and goods between Dhaka and the northern districts, they said.
In order to enhance sub-regional connectivity, increase passenger and cargo carrying-capacity and road safety, the government has taken the project to upgrade the two-lane highway to four lanes, with separate lanes for slow-moving vehicles at the cost of Tk 12,000 crore.
The government is upgrading Joydevpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga highway to four lanes under SASEC Road Connectivity Project.