Bangladesh Designing Major Expressway With ADB Support

DHAKA, BANGLADESH -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is helping the Government of Bangladesh design a new expressway between Dhaka and Chittagong to boost trade and ease congestion on the existing highway linking the two cities.

The expressway will be the first project in the country's transport sector to be developed under a public-private partnership.

"Once completed, the expressway will provide an immense boost to the country's trade and industry sector, not to mention ensuring safer and faster transport to thousands of users," said Markus Roesner, Senior Transport Specialist at ADB's South Asia Regional Department.

The expressway will link the two major metropolitan areas in Bangladesh. Dhaka, located in the center of the country, is the main commercial and administrative center of the country, while Chittagong, situated in the south, is the primary seaport, accounting for 90% of imports and exports. About a quarter of the country's population lives in the Dhaka-Chittagong corridor.

The new expressway will provide an alternative to the existing 250-kilometer Dhaka-Chittagong highway, which, like other major road networks in the country, has become congested. The country's roads carry more than 70% of passengers and 60% of freight, and this is expected to rise 6.4% annually up to 2015.

The Dhaka-Chittagong Expressway will also be part of the Asian Highway network of 141,000 kilometers of roads crisscrossing through Asia and linking to Europe.

The expressway will be part of government efforts to tap the private sector to finance costly infrastructure. Under its Sixth Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), the country aims to triple investments in infrastructure from 2% to 6% of gross domestic product through private sources of funds.

ADB is providing a $10 million loan to design the expressway, alongside $2.5 million from the Government. The design should be completed and approved by the Government in 2015.