The construction cost of four-lane Joydevpur-Tangail-Elenga road project is going to be doubled as the authorities revised it to a highway project with additional service road and other facilities, sources said.
They said the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has already revised the development project proposal (DPP) to accommodate the two-lane service road all along the 70-kilometre road, five flyovers, seven underpasses for slow movement vehicular transports and six for pedestrians.
As a result, they added, the construction cost of per kilometre road is estimated to be doubled than that of the existing budget of Tk 30.66 billion.
The project has been revised due to a decision by the line ministry and demands by the local people, said a senior official.
The RHD project office held meetings with the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges (MoRTB) to finalise the DPP and making it ready for getting necessary approval by the Planning Commission, sources said.
Despite the total project cost is yet to be finalised and the MoRTB is still reviewing the revised DPP proposal, they said, the RHD sought additional fund from the lenders to meet the higher construction cost.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) earlier sanctioned US$178 million under a SASEC Road Connectivity Project I, under which the 70-kilometre four-lane project from Tangail to Bangabandhu Bridge at Elenga is being constructed.
OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development also allocated $ 30 million each during the original plan.
Due to the changes in design, sources said, the ADB has already sanctioned $ 150 million for the project upon its prayer.
Sources said the RHD was now seeking additional $75 million from the ADB and $ 30 million from OFID to meet the increased demand.
Total foreign loans for the project would then increase to $ 493 million from existing $ 238 million.
Economic Relations Division (ERD) had meetings in this regard with the development partners and received positive response to the additional fund requirement.
In December 2015, the RHD started the construction work of the project under four packages with a target to complete it by end 2018.
The RHD officials claimed the implementation progress to be satisfactory and said the bituminous work already started. They also expected that the construction would be completed few months ahead of the deadline.
Though the project gets new components, the officials expected to complete those works by December next year.
According to the latest DPP, the Tangail-Elenga four-lane project has a component to construct two more lanes in addition to the existing two lanes. It also added a plan to construct 20-km service lane in one side of the four lane highway and some flyovers and underpasses.
Though the RHD started the construction work of the Tangail-Elenga four-lane project after completing feasibility study and detailed design work under an ADB funded technical project, RHD officials claimed that the cost of the project was assessed as per demand of that time.
"Now we'll have to construct a total of six lanes in addition to more flyovers and tunnels for slow-moving vehicles and pedestrians to make the regional corridor almost an expressway or access control highway," project director Deleep Kumar Guha told the FE at his office.
Asked whether it would be possible to complete the project with the new components within the deadline, he said the existing contractors would be assigned for the additional components as it will increase the scope of work for them.
He added that the budget for land acquisition would also be increased to compensate the owners in accordance with the new government rule.
He also said that a portion of the project cost is being used for construction of the RHD headquarters in Tejgaon area of the city.