Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader has said that the government is shifting focus from building bridges to tunnels to avoid navigability loss of the country's rivers.
During a seminar on Friday held at the capital's the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB), the minister said the country's rivers might die gradually if more bridges are constructed.
"We have inaugurated 26 bridges this month and around 50 more are awaiting inauguration but to save our river, it is vital to shift our focus from bridges," the minister said.
Highlighting the ongoing tunnel projects in the country, Quader said the government is constructing a tunnel in Chattogram's River Karnaphuli and so far, 75% of the work has been completed.
"We are also planning to build a tunnel on Jamalpur's Dewanganj – Gaibandha route and the Daultadia – Paturia route," he added.
Commenting on Dhaka – Chattogram highway, he said, "The highway lacks a service lane; we are working to include that."
The minister also stressed the importance of maintaining the existing roads and highways in the country.
About the future projects, the minister said the government plans to build a few expressways in the country, on the routes of Gazipur – Tangail, Elenga – Rangpur, Rangpur – Panchagarh, and Rangpur – Burimari.
"We are also in talks with Asian Development Bank (ADB) regarding constructing a four-lane highway from Faridpur – Barishal," he added.
The keynote address during the seminar was presented by Dr AFM Saiful Amin, professor, Civil Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet).
Others also spoke during Friday's seminar chaired by Prof Dr Md Hossain Mansur, chairman, sub-committee on science and technology of Bangladesh Awami League and member of the advisory council of Bangladesh Awami League.