• Friday, May 29, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:38 am

Shaping hopes, shaping the country

  • Published at 11:41 pm December 31st, 2019

Metro Rail, Padma Bridge, Elevated Express Way – mega structures all becoming visible

Amid myriad challenges, the country’s first-ever metro rail is expected to take a formidable form by the end of 2020. The pace of the construction work is, therefore, being spearheaded and put in the fast track scheme in 2019, on the back of a relative sluggish delivery over the past several years.

Dhaka Metro, which is scheduled for a trial run this year, is projected to serve more than 60,000 passengers per hour by 2021, with wait times of approximately 4 minutes, officials said. 

The entire route, which can be travelled in less than 40 minutes at an average speed of 100 km/h (62 mph), expected to reduce the number of private cars on Dhaka's streets as well as their potentially hours of standstills.

At the same time, Padma Bridge, one of the highest priority projects of the present government will take a complete visible shape in 2020 and will be made open for public by the middle of 2021. 

Apart from the Dhaka Metro Rail and Padma bridge project, the government is implementing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Dhaka and Ashulia Elevated Expressway, Outer, Inner and Middle-inner Ring Roads which have been progressing rather efficiently with an objective to transforming Dhaka's public transport scenario to a considerable level by reducing nagging traffic congestion.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said: "Rail track installation (in metro rail project) will begin tomorrow (January 1, 2020). The 20th span of Padma Bridge has been installed on Wednesday and at least three spans will be put in place each month from now onward."

The minister made the statement during a press conference at his secretariat office on Tuesday. 

"We have had elements of deficiency in coordination of implementing the project so far, but on the whole all important mega projects are progressing well," he added.

Trial run of metro rail to begin in 2020:  

An estimated 70% construction work of the first phase of Dhaka Metro Rail project (Uttara-Agargaon part) has already been completed by December last year, although, the rate of completion was well below 50% mark in September 2019. The government is planning to launch a trial run by this year.  

Meanwhile, a survey is under way with a plan to extend metro rail from Motijheel to Kamalapur. If the proposed extension of the third phase is finalized, the total length of the elevated metro rail (MRT line-6) will be more than 21 km.  

Installation of the fastening system is making progress in order to fix the rail lines on the elevated viaducts of the metro rail. Fixing of rail lines will begin from January 1, 2020, from Uttara depot of the metro rail. 

In the meantime, railway coaches and machines for installation have already been brought to the site, which are being imported from China. 

MAN Siddique, managing director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) said: "Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader will inaugurate the installation work of the first rail lines on the first day of the new year. We are making preparations for installing the track on schedule."

"Around one kilometer track of metro rail will be visible by January," he told Dhaka Tribune.

The 20.1km elevated metro rail will make a link between Uttara and Motijheel. Around 8.5km elevated viaducts of the metro rail has, so far, been made visible along Uttara and Agargaon part. 

DMTCL, a government-owned company, is implementing the metro rail projects.

The total cost of the Metro Line-6 is Tk21,985crore while the government is financing Tk5,390crore and the rest, Tk16,995 is being funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

The initial 2024 deadline for completion of six metro rail lines under the project has been extended later. The project suffered a huge setback following the Holy Artisan Bakery attack in 2016 that left seven Japanese metro rail experts killed, putting a halt to the project, as many foreigners left the country after the incident. 

According to the Revise Strategic Transport Plan (RSTP), the government will develop a metro rail network across the city with a proposed construction of six metro rails. 

Three kilometer of Padma Bridge is visible: 

The 20th span of Padma Multi-purpose Bridge was installed on the last day of 2019. With this installation, a 3km stretch of the mega structure is now visible. 

The 20th span of a total number of 41 was placed between the 18th and the 19th pillars. 

Nonetheless, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said the construction work of the 6.15-kilometre Padma Bridge will be completed by June 2021.

However, the implementation of Padma rail link, another top priority project, is not progressing as per plan due to delay in land acquisition. Bangladesh Railway needs to acquire nearly 1800 acres of land for setting up rail track.  The project will connect the bridge and will enable a direct rail link between the capital and southern districts, particularly Mongla sea port.

The project is scheduled to be completed in June 2022, which might be delayed. The first track project was approved by the government in early 2016 from Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga-Jessore through the under-construction Padma Bridge.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) 

The government is implementing two Bus Rapid Transits (BRT) following the Revised Strategic Transport Plan (RSTP). 

The construction of the first-ever BRT line between Gazipur and Hazrat Shahjalal Int'l Airport (HSIA) in Dhaka is already underway. Commuters could travel the 20km distance in 30 minutes through dedicated bus line. Around 32% construction works have been completed until November last year.  

The second BRT line will be constructed between HSIA (Dhaka airport) to Sadarghat. However, the government, according to its revised plan, said less than half of the 22km dedicated bus lane for the BRT is now likely to be implemented, between the airport and Mohakhali, a 10km stretch.

Expressways:

Overcoming the fund crisis, the Dhaka Elevated Expressway has been progressing smoothly. The 21km expressway will be merged with the proposed Dhaka-Ashulia expressway.    

The construction work of Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway is expected to start this year and expected to complete by 2022. 

Once completed, the expressway will connect Hazrat Shahjahal Int'l Airport to Abdullahpur, Ashulia, DEPZ and Chandra on the North Bengal Highway.

It will be an extension of the 26-kilometre Dhaka Elevated Expressway -linking the airport to the Dhaka-Chittagong highway near Shanir Akhra.

Ring Road on the cards: 

The government will also construct three ring roads—outer, inner and middle inner roads around capital Dhaka to ease traffic volume. 

The proposed ring roads will be: Dhaka-Joydebpur, Dhaka-Tongi-Gorashal, Dhaka-Purbachal-Bhulta, Dhaka-Kachpur-Megna bridge, Dhaka-Signboard-Narayanganj, Dhaka-Jheelmil-Ekuria, Dhaka-Aminbazar-Savar and Dhaka-Ashulia-EPZ. 

Construction work of a 48km outer ring road around the city is expected to get under way in 2020 under a government-to-government initiative with Japan which will be completed by 2023. 

Bangladesh Railway will start constructing some 81.9km rail line surrounding the Dhaka in 2020.

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