Ctg-Cox’s Bazar Highway: RHD moves to get rid of bottlenecks
The Roads and Highways Department will build 24km of bypass roads and a flyover on Chattogram-Cox's Bazar highway to eliminate bottlenecks in five town areas.
A feasibility study of the project, which will be financed by Japan, has been done and the department is now working on the project proposal.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency is set to sign today an agreement with the Bangladesh government regarding the finance for this and two other projects.
The total amount will be around Tk 12,814 crore. The other projects are Matarbari Port Development and technical assistance for construction of a dual-gauge double rail line between Joydebpur and Ishwardi, a source said.
The government is working on a two-pronged approach to improve traffic flow on Chattogram-Cox's Bazar highway as congestion and crashes are becoming increasingly common due to heavy traffic, said officials.
One is to rid the highway of bottlenecks within the next few years because the number of vehicles will significantly rise once the Matarbari Deep Sea Port in Maheshkhali comes into operation in 2026.
The other is to widen the entire highway into a four-lane expressway that will be under a Public Private Partnership model. It will be under a government-to-government initiative with Japan, a RHD source said.
Under the first of the aforementioned, Jica-appointed consultants who did a feasibility study recommended four bypasses and a flyover to rid the road of five major bottlenecks.
According to a document, there will be the 5.4km Patiya bypass, 3.3km Dohazari bypass, 5.1km Lohagara bypass, 6.8km Chakaria bypass, and 3.5km Keranihat flyover.
The bypasses will be four lanes with a 2.5metre wide breakdown lane on each side, said Interim Project Director Shyamal Kumar Bhattacharyya.
The flyover will be six lanes, he told The Daily Star yesterday, adding that a Development Project Proposal (DPP) will be prepared soon.
The DPP, which will contain an estimation of the cost for the entire project, will be sent to the Planning Commission through the Road Transport and Highways Division for approval, he said.
The Jica is going to sign today a Tk 4,319 crore loan as the first tranche for the project, RHD source said.
Since widening the entire highway under a PPP-model will take longer, the government appears to be considering changing the financing mode to upgrade the highway with Jica funds "for expeditious implementation of the project, and the Road Transport and Highways Division already sent a proposal to the Economic Relations Division in this regard," RHD sources said.
TWO OTHER PROJECTS
As China abruptly stepped aside from its role as a financier of the Joydebpur-Ishwardi Double Line Project two years ago, Bangladesh Railway is now reviving the project with Japanese assistance.
The Tk 14,250 crore project to turn the 162-km Joydebpur-Iswardi section into dual-gauge, double lines was taken in November 2018. In March 2021, China declined to finance the project citing "lack of in-depth preliminary work and insufficient feasibility study". The deadline of the project is December 2024.
Japan then agreed to finance the project.
Following a discussion with an "appraisal mission" of Jica, the BR prepared a Technical Assistance Project Proposal for reviewing feasibility study, preparing a detailed design for the lines and bidding, sources said.
The Jica will sign a Tk 327 crore loan for the project today.
Besides, Jica will sign a Tk 8,166 crore loan deal today for a deep sea port the government is building in Maheshkhali at a cost of Tk 17,777 crore.
It is the second tranche of the loan for the project, RHD officials said.