Dhaka – The road communication between the capital Dhaka and the port city of Chattogram has become further trouble-free with the opening of two bridges to reduce travel time on the 287-kilomter highway.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday opened the two bridges on the river Meghna and the Gumti to traffic to ease the communication between Dhaka and east and south-eastern part of the country.
Both the bridges have four vehicle lanes to fit into the four-lane highway constructed earlier to improve efficiency of the road communication.
Hasina inaugurates the bridges and other infrastructure through a videoconferencing at her official Ganabhaban in Dhaka.
The other infrastructures include two flyovers at Konabari and Chandra; four underpasses at Kaliakair, Deohata, Mirzapur and Gharinda underpasses, and two more bridges — Kadda-1 and Bimail bridges, on the Joydebpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga Highway under the SASEC Road Link Project.
These infrastructures will help reduce the travel time between Dhaka and northern districts.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader gave welcome address on the occasion while Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque and Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque were present.
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Hiroyasu Izumi also spoke on the occasion.
Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Second Shitalakkhya Bridge on Dhaka-Chattogram Highway on the river on March 16 this year.
Japanese contractors Obayshi Corporation, Shimizu Corporation, JFE Engineer Corporation, and IHI Infra Systems Company Limited started the constructions of the 2nd Kanchpur Bridge along with the 2nd Meghna and 2nd Meghna-Gumti bridges on the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway in January 2016.
The estimated cost of the three bridges was Taka 8,487 crore, of which Japan International Cooperation Agency provided with Taka 6,430 crore.
As per the contract, the Japanese firms began work in January 2016 and it was scheduled to complete within June 2019. But progress of the work was halted for around four months after the Holey Artisan attack in July 2016.
The government extended the deadline of completion for six months by fixing December 2019. But, the construction of the bridges was completed around seven months ahead of the schedule.
The work on the around 400-metre new Shitalakkhya bridge, with cost of Taka 950 crore, was completed in December 2018 while the construction work of the new 930-metre Meghna and 1,410-metre Gumti bridges was completed with a cost of Taka 1750 crore and Taka 1950 crore respectively.
The overpass on the east end of Shitalakkhya Bridge will be opened to public on May 31 to ease Eid journey.