The long-awaited Purbachal Expressway will connect the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway with the capital. According to Rajuk, the capital development authority, the expressway will be ready to be inaugurated in the next 2-3 months.
Billed as one of the most spectacular and attractive expressways in south and eastern Asia, it will connect Dhaka's Progoti Swaroni and Airport Road to the Eastern Bypass. There will be no traffic signals on the 12.5-km long expressway, which will have upto 14 lanes.
According to Rajuk, a 6.5-km stretch of the 12.5-km expressway, from the capital's Kuril area to the Balu River, is being constructed with 14 lanes. Of these 14 lanes, eight will be part of the main expressway, while the remaining six lanes will be used as service roads for the movement of local vehicles.
The 6-km stretch of the expressway from the Balu River to Kanchan Bridge will have 12 lanes - six forming the expressway, six as service roads. At present, 95 percent of the project is complete, said sources at Rajuk.
The cost of construction of the expressway has been estimated at Tk 764 crore. As part of the project, 10 large bridges will be built at an estimated cost of Tk 488 crore.
The construction of the expressway from Kuril Bishwa Road to Kanchan Bridge is in the final stages. Currently the construction of drainage systems along the roads and canals is going on. In many places, dividers are being installed. The Bangladesh Army's 24 Engineer Construction Brigade is implementing the project.
Meanwhile, Rajuk is currently digging 100-foot-wide canals on both sides of the Kuril-Purbachal Link road with the help of the Army, to preclude waterlogging. Rajuk Chairman Anisur Rahman Miah told our sister newsagency UNB recently that most of this work is complete.
There will also be 13 arched bridges, like the ones in Hatirjheel, costing an estimated Tk 227 crore.
Five at-grade intersections are being constructed so that vehicles in the adjacent areas can use the service lanes to get on the expressway at the same grade or elevation. A subway will be added to the expressway under each intersection, according to Rajuk.
Besides, a 4-kilometre drainage line for rain water, two culverts and 12 water bus stands will be constructed in the project area.
In addition, the number of pedestrian-bridges has been increased from the four mentioned in the original project outline of 2015 to 12, the number of pump houses from one to five, and the number of sluice gates from four to ten.
"The entire project will be completed in a quick time," Anisur Rahman said. "Hopefully, it will be inaugurated within the next three months. Once complete, the road communication between the capital and Purbachal will be modernised. Rajuk and police will work jointly to provide adequate security on the roads."
Regarding the canal reclamation project, Anisur said: "Once there were three major canals - Dumni, Boalia, and AD-8 -that would drain the rainwater out of the Airport, Nikunja, Baridhara and surrounding areas. However, those canals are completely gone."
"We're hoping to reclaim those canals with this project," he added.
The plan to dig and develop a 100-foot-wide canal on either side of the Kuril-Purbachal link road was approved at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on November 4, 2018. The Rajuk chairman hopes that the canals will help to solve the waterlogging problem in the Kuril, Baridhara, Nikunja and Airport areas during monsoon.
The Rajuk chairman said that once all the work is complete, the area would also present 'the nearest tourist spot' to Dhaka.
The estimated cost of the Purbachal Expressway project was originally Tk 5,287 crore, back in 2015. The addition of three additional canals, roads, bridges, and other elements described above have added an extra Tk 5,043 crore. The overall cost of the project has thus nearly doubled to Tk 10,330 crore.
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