Together with our client (Bangladesh Roads and Highways Department, RHD, for the Chattogram Zone) SMEC’s team in Bangladesh, along with local subsidiary ACE, recently organised and co-hosted a stakeholder workshop for The Marine Drive Expressway Project.
Spanning approximately 190 kilometres, Marine Drive Expressway will connect the Chattogram Division’s special economic zone (SEZ), outer ring road, port city, and Karnaphuli tunnel.
Conceived by the Bangladeshi government to mitigate the impending transport crisis and integrate the nation’s economic corridors, Marine Drive Expressway will connect parts of the land to the road network for the first time.
Our team has completed the project’s feasibility study, and is now progressing to preliminary design, including environmental and social assessment.
The expressway’s preliminary design features two dedicated freight traffic lanes; 4 fast lanes; 10 interchanges (with rest areas at 50 kilometre intervals); and numerous drainage structures. It also features bridges, culverts, coastal protection, and other hydraulic fixtures.
SMEC’s traffic model forecast for the project was greatly appreciated by the client, and new technologies (including drone based topographic surveys, web-based GIS, and a 3D visualisation of the route’s engineering design) have expedited project integration.
Bangladesh’s Chattogram Division (comprising Chattogram city and Cox’s bazar) is an attractive destination for setting up industrial and commercial enterprises. Currently there are several national priority infrastructure projects along the corridor including four new economic zones; two new ports; an international airport; two new tourism zones; and multiple developments along the coast.
The Marine Drive Expressway stakeholder workshop featured an interactive Q+A session led by Mr. Abdul Wahid (Additional Chief Engineer and Project Director, RHD) and Sujay Sujatharan (Project Manager, SMEC) which sought feedback on the expressway’s proposed alignment and presented the project’s viability.
Workshop attendees included Bangladesh Army’s 24th and 10th infantry divisions, representatives from government’s Economic Zones; Fish Inspection and Quality Control Department; Coast Guards; Navy; Water Development Board; and Ship Breakers Association; along with delegates from Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar development authorities.
The Tbilisi Development Fund has engaged SMEC to develop the Dighomi floodplain rehabilitation strategy. The Dighomi Floodplain is an area of special conservation interest, which includes riparian forest, protected Otter habitat and other unique flora and fauna ecosystems that have been assessed as critical by the International Finance Corporate Performance Standard.
SMEC has been contracted by Electricidade De Timor-Leste (EDTL) for the role of Project Supervision Consultants for the Power Distribution Modernisation Project in Timor-Leste. Supported by a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the project aims to assist EDTL in modernising the country’s power distribution system and strengthening institutional capacity.
Geotechnics will play a key role in helping our society achieve a safe, prosperous and sustainable future. Recent droughts have resulted in a need for more dam design and construction. Recent rainfall has resulted in extensive slop failures impacting our roads, rail and urban infrastructure. Energy transformation is driving large scale solar, wind and pumped hydro construction. These projects will all require geotechnical input to future plan for our communities.
Richard Parsons, one of SMEC’s key leaders in Social Value and Engagement is presenting on their technical paper ‘Considering Social Impact Assessment from a public interest perspective - some critical questions’ at the Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand 2023 Impact Assessment Symposium in Canberra.