Tuesday, 6 December, 2022

Mega projects to transform transport system

Mega projects to transform transport system
Construction work of the country's first-ever metro rail project and Dhaka Elevated Expressway (inset) is going on in full swing. The projects are aimed at reducing the nagging traffic congestion in the capital. — Reaz Ahmed Sumon

The metro rail and the elevated expressway, two mega projects undertaken by the ruling Awami League government, are expected to transform the public transport system in the capital.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government has undertaken a series of mega projects to speed up the pace of the country’s ongoing socio-economic development.

Metro rail and elevated expressway are among the key projects which are expected to take the country’s development to a new height, experts said.

“After the projects are completed Dhaka will have no serious traffic jams and people will reshape their daily lives as no time will be wasted on the roads … from the current four hours due to traffic chaos it will maximun one hour,” one expert said.

A major upgradation of the public transport system has become a crucial part of the government’s long term planning as the population of Dhaka is expected to be double in the next 20 years.

Road communications play a very important role in timely and proper functioning of businesses, industrial, administrative, judicial and academic activities.

The government has engaged a concessionaire to build a 46.73km elevated expressway stretching from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kutubkhali (connecting Dhaka-Chittagong highway) and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-6, 20.10km metro-rail from Uttara to Motijheel, to ease traffic congestion in Dhaka city.

Dhaka Elevated Expressway is Bangladesh’s first elevated expressway project.

The MRT-6, the country’s first metro rail project, will have 16 stations from Uttara to Motijheel.

The objectives of both the project are poverty reduction and boost socio-economic development by reducing traffic congestion in and around Dhaka city.

Metro Rail project is progressing in full swing. Workers are working on two shifts day and night to finish the work in time.

The metro rail project is being implemented by the state-owned Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Company (DMTCL) in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

The 20.10 km MRT Line 6 will run from Uttara Third Phase and pass through Pallabi, the west side of Rokeya Sarani and Farmgate, Hotel Sonargaon, Hotel InterContinental, TSC of Dhaka University, Doel Chattar, Topkhana Road, and Bangladesh Bank.

The MRT 6 project is being constructed at a cost of around Tk 22,000 crore. Of the total amount, Jica is providing Tk 16,500 crore while the rest of the fund will come from the government’s own fund.

The fast-moving metro rail will run from Uttara and Motijheel via Mirpur and Farmgate, carrying 60,000 passengers per hour touching every station once every four minutes.

There will be 16 stations – Uttara North, Central and South, Pallabi, Mirpur-11, Mirpur-10, Kazipara, Taltala, Agargaon, Bijoy Sarani, Farmgate, Sonargaon, National Museum, Doel Chattar, Bangabandhu National Stadium, and Bangladesh Bank.

Once the MRT 6 project is in operation, Dhaka’s commuters will enjoy much-awaited ease in traffic movement, getting rid of the perennial congestion of transportation on the roads of the gradually expanding city. A commuter would reach Bangladesh Bank from Uttara in just 38 minutes.

MRT-6 has made 30.05 per cent progress as of September and the lines are expected to open on December 16, 2021 when the country will be celebrating the golden jubilee of its independence.

Recently, on October 15, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) has approved the construction of two more Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) lines.

The projects – MRT 1 and MRT 5 lines – are estimated to collectively cost Tk 93,799.98 crore, making them the biggest ever transport infrastructure projects in Dhaka.

The MRT 1 line will connect Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and Kamalapur via Notun Bazar and Purbachal terminal (depot). This project is estimated to cost Tk 52,561.43 crore. This will be the country’s first underground metro rail system.

The 31.24km route will have an elevated section from Notun Bazar to Purbachal and is scheduled to be completed in December 2026, according to the project documents.

The MRT 5 line will have 14 stations at different points of the city including its depot in Purbachal. This line will connect Hemayetpur in Savar with Bhatara via Gabtoli, Mirpur and Gulshan at an estimated cost of Tk 41,238.55 crore and is scheduled to be completed by December 2028.

The 46.73km Dhaka Elevated Expressway will link the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway, thus extending the road connection to Chattogram’s Kutubkhali via Kuril, Banani, Mohakhali, Tejgaon, Moghbazar, Kamalapur, Sayedabad, and Jatrabari in the capital.

The project has been split into three parts. The first section extends from the airport to Banani and covers 7.45km, the second from Banani to Moghbazar is 5.85km and the third section extends for 6.43km from Moghbazar to Kutubkhali.

The first-ever elevated expressway project has made 22 per cent progress as of September and the expressway is expected to complete on March 2022.

Besides, the government has initiated two more Elevated Expressway — Dhaka-Ashulia elevated expressway and Dhaka East-West Elevated Expressway.

The 24-kilometre Dhaka-Ashulia elevated expressway will connect Hazrat Shahjahal International Airport to Abdullahpur, Ashulia, DEPZ and Chandra on Dhaka-Tangail Highway.

The route alignment of the proposed Dhaka East-West Elevated Expressway is Hemayetpur – Nimtoli – Keraniganj – Ekuria – Janzira – Fatullah - Bandar -Modonpur (on Dhaka-Chittagong Highway).

The main objective of this project is to bypass Dhaka vertically in the fastest possible way, which would significantly reduce the traffic load inside the capital.

These three expressways will reduce traffic congestion in and around Dhaka city and traffic from Chattogram, Sylhet, Tangail and other eastern part and southwestern region through Padma Bridge to the north-western districts will be easier.

The elevated expressway is a great initiative by the government to lessen traffic gridlock, experts said.