China mega-tech drives Bangladesh mega highway

(Xinhua) 12:58, January 22, 2022

Work on a joint Chinese-Bangladeshi venture to build a transformational highway bypassing Bangladesh capital Dhaka is well underway.

The mega expressway will link the industrial belts around Dhaka with the seaport at Chattogram and the northeastern Sylhet region, bypassing the congested capital. Around 400 million U.S. dollars will be spent on the four-lane artery.

The country's first road public-private partnership (PPP) initiative is 60 percent controlled by China's Sichuan Road and Bridge Group, with local actors Unique Dream Consultants and Shamim Enterprises holding the remainder. The Dhaka Bypass Expressway Development Company has financing agreements with the China Development Bank (CDB) and Bangladesh Infrastructure Finance Fund Ltd (BIFFL).

Yang Jian, a project manager working in Bangladesh, told Xinhua that 70 percent of the initial work had been completed. The bridge pile foundation is 50 percent completed. "In 2024, we will complete the whole expressway," he said.

Nearly 1,000 local people are working -- a number set to double -- alongside the Chinese staff. After the completion of the highway, traffic from north to south in Dhaka will be greatly eased, improving local economies in the road's immediate hinterland and boosting development across the country.

"Our Chinese partners are using the latest technology. I'm learning a lot. All the equipment is of very high quality. We ensure safety first and then work. Here safety always comes first," said Nahid Hasan, a local engineer working on bridges.

"I'm getting a good salary. I'm not having any problems," he added.

Deputy general manager Yang Xu said the construction work started in 2021 following a completion of 412 million U.S. dollars of financing in April.

"We have brought the best technology and have trained local technicians, which will be good for future projects," he said.

(Web editor: Liu Ning, Bianji)


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