2342km highways to be upgraded to four lanes

Representational image of a highway
Prothom Alo

The government has taken up plans to upgrade 2,342 km of national highways to four lanes, including the service lanes on both sides, finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said while unveiling the national budget for the fiscal 2023-24 at the national parliament on Thursday.

A total of Tk 876.29 billion has been allocated for the transport and communication sector in the proposed budget. The latest allocation is higher by Tk 61 billion than the previous fiscal’s allocation of Tk 815.19 billion.

“We are laying emphasis on the integrated development of various means of communication, including roads, bridges, railways, sea routes, and airways. Our primary objective is to establish a domestic and international communication network which is secure, sustainable, environment-friendly, and economical. We are committed to ensuring timely completion of ongoing projects and their subsequent maintenance after implementation,” the minister said.

The finance minister in his budget speech said construction of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway, stretching over 46.73 km from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Qutubkhali on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway, is expected to be finished by June 2024. The expressway will be opened from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Tejgaon by September 2023.

Construction of the Bangabandhu tunnel under the Karnaphuli River is nearing completion and is set to open for traffic soon.

“In addition, construction of a 20 km long lane Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from Shahjalal International Airport to Gazipur is currently underway, and construction of the Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway has also commenced.

Once implemented, these initiatives will greatly enhance connectivity, allowing for easier and congestion-free travel between Dhaka and 30 districts while also improving accessibility to the Asian Highway Network and nearly all national highways,” he added.