Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today inaugurated country's first expressway on the Jatrabari-Mawa and Patchchar-Bhanga routes to traffic, ushering in a new era in the communication sector on the occasion of "Mujib Borsho".
The premier opened the newly-constructed expressway under the Dhaka-Khulna Highway Project through a video-conference from her Gono Bhaban residence this morning.
The 55km long expressway, which has a four-lane main expressway and four service lanes for low speed vehicles, was constructed to reduce travel time and ensure a smooth and comfortable journey of the people of 22 south-western districts.
According to project details, the expressway has five flyovers, 19 underpasses, four railway overpasses, 25 bridges, four main bridges, 54 culverts, and two inter-changes which will contribute to the national economy by boosting trade and commerce.
The 25 bridges were constructed in Khulna-Barishal-Gopalganj zone under the Western Bangladesh Bridge Improvement Project.
It has two parts stretching 35km from Jatrabari intersection to Mawa and 20km from Patchchar to Bhanga.
The expressway is expected to contribute significantly to the overall development of the entire Khulna and Barishal divisions and a part of Dhaka division.
People from 22 districts, including six districts in Barishal division, 10 districts in Khulna division and six districts in Dhaka division, will be directly benefited from this expressway.
The two parts of the modern expressway will be connected through the 6.15km Padma Bridge, which is now under construction.
Four km of the main structure of the country's longest Padma Bridge is already visible after installation of its 26th span on Tuesday.
The government has a plan to open the long-awaited bridge to traffic by June 2021.
The expressway has been constructed on Dhaka-Khulna highway with an estimated cost of Tk 11,003.90 crore taking the growing traffic volume into consideration for the next 20 years on this highway.
The Roads and Highways Department and Bangladesh Army jointly started implementation of the expressway project in four districts -Dhaka, Munshiganj, Madaripur and Faridpur- back in 2016.
The scheme was completed three months before the stipulated time frame of June 2020.
There is a 2.3km Kadamtali-Babu Bazaar Link Road Flyover among five flyovers under the expressway project. The four other flyovers are in Abdullahpur, Srinagar, Puliabazar and Maligram.
The expressway has four railway overbridges in Zurain, Kuchiamora, Srinagar and Atadi, and four large bridges that included 363 metre Dhaleswari-1, 591 metre Dhaleswari-2, 466 metre Arial Khan and 136 metre Kumar bridge.
A documentary on the benefits of constructing the overpass was also screened.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader and Chief of Army Staff General Aziz Ahmed spoke on the occasion.
Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan, PM's Political Adviser HT Imam, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira were present.
PM's Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus moderated the function while Secretary of Road Transport and Highways Division Md Nazrul Islam gave a presentation.
Principal Coordinator on the SDGs Affairs at the Prime Minister's Office Zuena Aziz, PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim and PMO Secretary Md Tofazzal Hossain Miah were also present.