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Countrywide expressway project hangs for two years

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Over the past two years, a move to develop countrywide expressway network at an estimated cost of Tk 78.55 billion has remained halted due to the authorities inaction. Bangladesh's ranking in expressways infrastructure quality, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitive Report, is found below the list.
Media report in a national daily on Friday said that the Roads and Highways Department (RHD), supported by the Public-Private Partnership Authority (PPPA), conceptualised in 2018 a speedy, uninterrupted connectivity from one highway corridor to another. Initially 3,933-kilometre of highway network was mapped connecting roads in at least eight directions after a preliminary study aided by Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). But the idea still lies shelved for the last two years.
The study proved that a vehicle plying on the highways with frequent interventions required more travel time compared to a vehicle plying on the freeways. Travel time controls several factors like vehicle operating costs, fuel consumption, GHG emission, etc.
It is to be noted that to materialise the time-consuming and expensive plan, a policy decision by the government is needed targeting a timeframe and setting priorities. At the same time, a decision on funding modality is also necessary, be it a PPP or government.
Meanwhile, the RHD has so far turned several highways into four lanes, including Dhaka-Chattogram and Dhaka-Mymensingh, with the idea of an uninterrupted road network. But transport experts do not consider the highways as expressways having innumerable links with local areas.
For example, they mentioned that Dhaka-Mawa road, the country's first expressway, has more than 25 exit and entry points that frequently slow down the driving speed. Bangladesh is yet to earn required driving speed and infrastructure quality, as both are vital for sustained economic growth.
Mentionable that with smooth and swift connectivity and accessibility, more job sector is created, market flourishes and trade is enhanced rapidly which eventually contributes to the GDP of the country.
As we came to know that the expressway network has been selected to get the regional traffic network as the country is linked to Asian Highway, SAARC Highway, SASEC Highway, and BIMSTEC and BCIM corridors.
We have seen cultures of impunity negatively affect all aspects of our social life, and the roads and highways sector is no exception. More roads and highways are good to take our national economy ahead, but they will only take us halfway to our real goal in absence of honest leadership.

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