Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday opened Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga superhighway, the country’s first-ever access-controlled expressway that significantly improved the road connectivity between the capital and the country’s south and southwestern region.
The Prime Minister opened the 55-kilometre eye-catching six-lane expressway to traffic through videoconferencing from her official residence Ganobhaban.
She also opened the six-lane approach road of the third Karnaphuli Bridge (Shah Amanat Setu), and newly-constructed 25 bridges in Khulna, Barishal and Gopalganj road zones.
The 8-km approach road was constructed under the 3rd Karnaphuli Bridge Construction (revised) Project, while 25 bridges were constructed under the Western Bangladesh Bridge Improvement Project.
The Jatrabari-Mawa-Bhanga expressway on Dhaka-Khulna Highway opened a new era of road connectivity between the capital and south and southwestern parts of the country, reducing the travel time by several hours.
The expressway, having two service lanes, five flyovers, 19 underpasses, two interchanges, four railway over-bridges, four large bridges, 25 small bridges and 54 culverts, was constructed to ensure uninterrupted movement of vehicles with the southern parts of the country.
The people of 22 districts in the country’s south and southwestern region, including Munshiganj, will directly be benefited from the modern expressway.
Addressing the function, the Prime Minister said, “It’s the first-ever access-controlled expressway where there’s no traffic crossing system. The vehicles can move uninterruptedly.”
She said her government has relentlessly been working to improve the communication system in the entire country forming the government in 2009.
“We’re building a communication network throughout the country which will create scopes for further development of the country and its people,” said Hasina.
Later, the Prime Minister exchanged views with the stakeholders of the project areas in different districts through the videoconferencing.
Commuters can get the full advantage of the expressway once the 6.15-km Padma Bridge is completed as it will connect the two parts -- 35-km Jatrabari intersection to Mawa and 20-km Panchar to Bhanga -– of the expressway. The government has planned to open the country’s longest bridge for traffic by June 2021.
It now takes 5-7 hours to reach Faridpur from Dhaka using the two-lane road, which witnesses nagging traffic congestions at different points, and ferries in Mawa.
But the journey will not needlessly be longer because of traffic gridlock and slow-moving vehicles as the expressway was constructed with controlled access.
Two service lanes are kept on both sides of the expressway for slow-moving vehicles so that speedy vehicles can move uninterruptedly.
The expressway was constructed at a cost of Tk 11,003.90 crore considering the next 20-year traffic volume on the highway, which will be part of the Asian Highway, connecting Dhaka and Kolkata through the Benapole border and making international journey more comfortable.
The Roads and Highways Department and Bangladesh Army under the supervision of the Road Transport and Highways Division implemented the expressway project that was approved by Ecnec in 2016.
The expressway project was implemented three months before the stipulated time of June 2020.
Now it will take only 30-40 minutes instead of two hours to travel to Dhaka from Mawa as there will be no traffic jam on the expressway.
Addressing the launching event, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said, “Today, the country’s road communication is going to see a radical change with the opening of the country’s first-ever expressway.
“Now it’ll take only 30 minutes for commuters to reach Mawa from Dhaka using the expressway and it’ll take only 45 minutes to reach Bhanga from Dhaka once the construction of Padma Bridge is completed,” he said.
“It’s a very eye-catching road. I think, it’ll outshine many attention-grabbing roads in Europe,” said the Road Transport and Bridges Minister.
Chief of Army Staff General Aziz Ahmed also spoke at the function, conducted by PM’s Principal Secretary Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus.
Road Transport and Highways Division Secretary Md Nazrul Islam made a presentation on development works.