China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) has begun work on Bangladesh’s first ever tunnel under a river.
The 3.4km twin-bore Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel will carry two lanes under the Karnaphuli River in the port city of Chittagong, connecting the city with Shah Amanat Airport.
The cost of the scheme is estimated to be $1.6bn, with $570m of that provided by the Export-Import Bank of China and the rest by the government of Bangladesh.
Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister of Bangladesh, said the completion of the project in 2022 would "accelerate the socio-economic development of the region".
She said the tunnel would be connected to the motorway between Cox’s Bazar and Patiya by another 10km road.
The prime minister also inaugurated work on a 16.5km elevated expressway from Lalkhan Bazar to Shah Amanat Airport in the city.
When complete, the new road network will improve transport from the airport and the industrial zone in the south of the city, helping to reduce the congestion that occurs during peak travel hours.
Image: Chittagong suffers from congestion during rush hours (Raihan Rana/CC BY-SA 4.0)