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3 highways set to be overhauled in current FY 
Staff Reporter
Three highways will be upgraded into four-lane ones in the current fiscal, aiming to improve the national transport system and infrastructures for better road communications across the country .
Those are Dhaka-Sylhet, Rangpur-Burimari and Sylhet-Tamabil highways.
According to a budget document, Dhaka-Sylhet highway will be made a four-lane one with service lanes on both sides.
The government will also start work to construct a bridge over the Mongla Channel and the Kewatkhali Bridge over the Brahmaputra River in Mymenshing in this fiscal.
"Once implemented, these projects will enhance the road connectivity of the country to a greater level spurring the economy," a senior official at the ministry concerned said.
He said the country's economy depends on its connectivity. "So, better connectivity means better economic strength," he added.
To develop a planned and coordinated modern public transport system in and around Dhaka city and adjacent areas, the government has also been implementing the Revised Strategic Transport Plan (2015-2035).
Under this plan, the construction of Bangladesh’s first metro rail network (MRT Line-6) from Uttara to Motijheel and bus rapid transit (BRT Line-3) from Hazrat Shah Jalal International Airport to Gazipur are progressing fast.
The document says the main construction work for implementing two more metro rail networks (MRT Lines-1 and 6) will start in this fiscal year.
To ensure road safety, steps have been taken to mark 2,550 kilometers of highways, and remove barriers/trees at the intersections of 1950 kilometers of highways, according to the document.
Besides, the government is implementing a number of projects for upgrading 1,140 kilometers of the country’s important regional highways to appropriate standard and width in addition to upgrading district highways.
As part of the plan to upgrade national highways throughout the country into 4 or more lanes, the upgradation work on Elenga-Hatikumrul highway into a four-lane road with service lanes on both sides is underway.
The document shows that the physical progress of South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Road Connectivity Project (SASEC) Road Connectivity Project to connect Bangladesh with regional and international transport networks is 75.48 percent.
The government has completed the construction of the first expressway of the country, an uninterrupted four-lane road with services lanes on both sides, stretching from Jatrabari intersection in Dhaka to Maoa and from Pachhor to Bhanga, and opened it to regular traffic.
To transform Bangladesh into a developed nation by 2041, it is important to ensure a modern, safe and environment-friendly transportation and communication infrastructure, said,Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in his budget speech.
"To that end, the government has laid emphasis on creating a coordinated communication network by making a massive investment in the country’s overall communication infrastructure comprising roads, bridges, railways, waterways and airways," he said.
The allocation for the communication infrastructure sector in the current fiscal is Tk. 64,580 crore against Tk 64,821 crore in the previous year.