Breaking new ground: Bangladesh’s first underwater tunnel
Bangladesh is a country of rivers, one of the largest and most important of which is the Karnaphuli River that services the city of Chattogram (formerly called Chittagong), the largest sea port of Bangladesh
Bangladesh is a country of rivers, one of the largest and most important of which is the Karnaphuli River that services the city of Chattogram (formerly called Chittagong), the largest sea port of Bangladesh. Although there are already two bridges crossing the river, these are inadequate to accommodate the increase in traffic. With a population of over six million, the heavily congested city of Chattogram is closely surrounded on the east by the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the west by the Bay of Bengal, making an additional bridge type crossing of the Karnaphuli River unviable.
The solution? The Karnaphuli River tunnel – the first underwater tunnel in Bangladesh. The proposed twin 2.5-kilometre, 11-meter diameter tunnel under the Karnaphuli River together with approximately 6 kilometres of connecting roads will connect the region with the rest of Bangladesh and into Mynamar. SMEC, along with its joint venture partners, was appointed to supervise the design and construction of the US$705 million Karnaphuli Tunnel Project in 2016.
SMEC Chief Technical Principal Gavin Strid discusses what it’s like to break ground on a nation-first.
“What makes this project even more meaningful is that we are training and developing Bangladesh’s future tunnel supervision engineers. The rapid transfer of knowledge from our SMEC specialists to this young team is exciting to watch.”
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