Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to virtually inaugurate three more mega projects, including a 16-kilometer elevated expressway to ease traffic gridlock in the port city of Chattogram, on Tuesday.

The projects include the 16 km long expressway stretching from the city's busy Lalkhan Bazar to Patenga, Bakolia Access Road and DT-Bayezid Link Road.

The premier will inaugurate the projects from her residence Ganabhaban here in Dhaka through a video conference, said sources in Chattogram district administration.

Earlier on October 28, the prime minister opened the much-anticipated Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel constructed under Karnaphuli River and she also unveiled the Chattogram-Cox's Bazar Rail Line on November 11.

All the projects were implemented by Chattogram Development Authority (CDA) under the direction of the Public Works Ministry.

Authorities hope that a vehicle may take only a half hour instead of the current two hours to reach Patenga, an entry point of the recently opened Bangabandhu Tunnel, from the main city point GEC area.

Moreover, the expressway will play a vital role in reducing the longstanding traffic jam in the port commercial city of the country.

Some 90 percent work of the Elevated Expressway Project involving around Tk 4000.5 crore has already been completed.

Local Awami League insiders see the project as a gift from their party president Sheikh Hasina for Chattogram people just before the national election to be held in January next.

Mahfuzur Rahman, project director of the elevated expressway, also executive engineer of the CDA, told UNB that the section stretching from the entry point of the tunnel in Patenga to Tigerpass area is ready to open to vehicular movement.

But, work of the Lalkhan Bazar to Tigerpass part of the expressway is yet to be completed, he said, adding that it will take around two months to fully complete it.

The CDA decided to name the expressway after late Awami League leader ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury, also former mayor of Chattogram City Corporation.

According to CDA sources, to ease the traffic congestion in the city, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council approved the Chattogram Elevated Expressway project on 11 July 2017.

First, the cost of the project was estimated at Tk3,250.83 crore. The project was supposed to be 100 percent completed within three years from July 2017 to June 2020 but it was not. In the second phase, the time was extended till June 2022. However, before the expiry of the period, it is proposed to extend the period. In the third phase, the time has increased till June 2023.

At the same time, the construction cost of the project increased to Tk4,369.10 crore. The CDA is jointly implementing the project with a Chinese company, Max-Ranken Joint Venture.

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