The government has signed contracts taking on board six local and foreign firms as consultants to the project to construct a tunnel under the river Karnaphuli in Chittagong.
Australian SMEC International Pty Limited and Danish firm COWI will jointly head the consultancy job.
OVE-ARUP and Partners Hong Kong Limited and Bangladesh’s ACI Consultant Limited, Development Consultant Limited and Strategic Consulting Company Limited will assist them.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister witnessed the signing of the Tk 2.91 billion deal between the Bridges Division and the six firms on Wednesday. The contracts will run 60 months.
Bridges Division Chief Engineer Kabir Ahmed signed the deal on behalf of the government while SMEC’s Chief Technical Principal, Project Management, Gavin Strid represented the six firms.
It was said in the signing ceremony that the consultants would supervise the entire construction work and review the detailed plan.
The tunnel will have two tubes with two lanes each linking the two banks of the river. The project will be ‘One City, Two Town’ like China’s Shanghai, said the minister after the signing ceremony.
The plan to acquire land on the east bank of the river is at the final stage. The amended proposal for the land acquisition will shortly be sent to the deputy commissioner of Chittagong.
“This project is a part of the China-proposed Silk Road. It will be connected with the Asian Highway,” Quader said.
According to the minister, the project is estimated to cost Tk 85 billion.
A loan deal of $705.8 million (Tk 55.6 billion) has been signed for the project with the Export-Import Bank of China.
The deal was signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent Dhaka visit. A framework deal on the construction of the Karnaphuli tunnel was also sealed.
Xi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Oct 14 unveiled plaques of several projects, including the Karnaphuli tunnel.
Quader also said the feasibility study of Mirsarai-Cox’s Bazar marine drive and Dhaka-Chittagong expressway project was finalised.