Chittagong’s pioneering road tunnel to be completed in September

The tunnel passes beneath the River Karnaphuli (Abdulmominbd/CC BY-SA 4.0)
After four years of construction work, a 3.4km road tunnel under the Karnaphuli river in the port city of Chittagong in Bangladesh is nearing completion, the Dhaka Tribune reports.

The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel, the first of its kind in South Asia, is being built by China Communications, and its $930m cost is being financed by a concessional $540m loan from the Export–Import Bank of China.

It will consist of two tubes 10.7m wide and 4.9m high stretching 3.4km, with an approach road of 5.4km and a 740m bridge linking the main city on the west with the rapidly industrialising east. 

When complete in September, it will also connect the proposed Asian Highway, which will run along the coast of Bangladesh, with the motorway that connects Dhaka, Chittagong and the southern port of Cox’s Bazar. It will also reduce the travelling distance between Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar by 40km.

The project was officially launched by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2016, with work on the tunnel following in March 2019.

According to Harunur Rashid Chowdhury, the project’s director, “99.5% of the main tunnel is complete and the overall progress of the project construction work is 97.5%. Now finishing touches are under way to ensure safety and security”.

Mahbubul Alam, the president of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce, added that the tunnel would unlock a new epoch in the history of the communication systems in the region. He said: “Once the tunnel is opened, it will be a game changer for the southeast region of Bangladesh and will present a solution to connectivity issues to the rest of the country.”

The tunnel will also ease traffic congestion on two bridges, including Shah Amanat Bridge, over the Karnaphuli River.

Further reading:

Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News