Dhaka – Bangladesh’s first-ever expressway has been opened to traffic on Thursday in a bid to reduce journey time for passengers intent to travel between Dhaka and the southern districts.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the 55-kilometer expressway having modern facilities to connect the under-construction Padma Bridge at Mawa in Munshiganj district and beyond.
It has two parts stretching 35-kilometre long from Jatrabari intersection to Mawa and 20-kilometre long from Pancchar to Bhanga.
Opening of the Jatrabari-Mawa and Patchchar-Bhanga routes to traffic under the Dhaka-Khulna Highway Project is dubbed as a new era in Bangladesh’s communication sector on the eve of “Mujib Borsho”, the year of birth centenary of Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“This is the country’s first-ever access controlled expressway. The vehicles can straight go to destinations without any interruption as there will be no traffic signal and side lanes have been dedicated in it for movement of the local people using low speed vehicles.”
The expressway will help for socio-economic development of Bangladesh and increase the living standard of the people of southern region, Hasina said referring to the a 24-hour journey required from Gopalganj to Dhaka by ferry services.
She said her government has been tirelessly working for the development of communication system since her party assumed office in 1996.
After returning to the power in 2009, she said her government has been pursuing their efforts in a planned way for the overall development of the roads, railways, waterways and airways, according to state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency.
Turning to the Padma Bridge, the premier said her government has been implementing the Padma Bridge on such a mighty river with own finance after successfully facing the false allegation of corruption by the World Bank.
The Canadian court in its verdict also said that no corruption was committed in the Padma Bridge project. “The decision of constructing the Padma Bridge with our own finance has increased our image in the international arena,” she said.
Extending the gratitude to Bangladesh Army and the people concerned for constructing the expressway, the premier, however, expressed her desire to go to Gopalganj using the expressway by this month.
The eight-lane expressway having four-lane main expressway and four service lanes for plying low speed vehicles will connect the country’s southwestern part with the capital which will save travel time and facilitate smooth and uninterrupted vehicles movement.
According to the 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 in the country.
The 25 bridges were constructed in Khulna-Barishal-Gopalganj zone under the Western Bangladesh Bridge Improvement Project.