As part of the feasibility study for the Marine Drive Expressway and Coastal Protection Works CDR International, in cooperation with DevConsultant from Bangladesh, was appointed to carry out the Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment for China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC). Through this project, the Bangladesh Government intends to improve the accessibility of the Southeast region of Bangladesh along with an improvement of the flood safety. Nowadays, the area is moderately accessible which hampers the economic development of the region, comprising of the Chittagong and Cox’ Bazar districts. The area is characterized as hilly area with relatively short rivers where the coastal low-lying delta planes are affected by tidal waves and river flooding, which frequently damage households and vital infrastructure.
The alignment of the Expressway runs from Shitakunda via Chittagong to Cox’ Bazar. The total length of the trajectory is about 170 km in total and includes approximately 100 bridges and 80 km of coastal protection works. The proposed roads will be a dual four-lane carriageway of 21.6 m in width, with a bituminous road surface. It will become a national trunk road upon its completion. The study covers the following issues of the project: holistic description, description of relevant legal and administrative framework, description of the environment, impact assessment, public consultation and environmental management plan. Positive impacts of the project are i) increase of the flood safety ii) the creation of employment opportunities during construction iii) better economic opportunities for local business and iv) unlocking of the hinterland for socio-economic development. Negative impacts are i) dislocation of people ii) nuisance for population affected iii) social tension iv) loss of foreshore (possibly) and v) potential disturbance of the hydrologic regime in the polders affected.