It will take only 24 minutes to travel from Dhaka airport to Kamalapur once the line is up and running
Construction work on the country’s first underground metro rail is expected to begin in March 2022, more than a year after it was scheduled for inauguration.
Physical work on the metro rail had originally been set to start in December 2020. But as the Covid-19 pandemic came in the way, the starting time was pushed to June 2021. But that has proved to be impossible as well because of the continuing pandemic.
MAN Siddique, managing director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd (DMTCL), which is implementing the project, shared the details of the metro rail project with reporters on Thursday.
Once the underground line, formally known as Mass Rapid Transit Line-1 or MRT-1, is up and running, trains will move at 90kmph speed and be able to carry 800,000 passengers daily.
It will take only 24 minutes to travel from Dhaka airport to Kamalapur, apart from breaks at 12 underground stations on the proposed route (Airport-Kuril-Natunbazar-Badda-Rampura-Malibagh-Rajarbag-Kamalapur).
A total of 25 trains, each of which will carry 3,088 passengers, will operate on this route.
The 31.24km MRT Line-1 will have two parts — around 19.87km from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kamalapur with 16.4km underground lines and around 11.36km elevated lines from Notun Bazar to Purbachal.
Travel on the elevated part will take 20 minutes as the trains will move at 100kmph apart from the breaks at seven stations.
There will be a 2.5-minute break between each train on the Airport-Kamalapur route and the wait time between trains on the Notun Bazar-Purbachal route will be 4.4-minute.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing on Thursday, MAN Siddique said the authorities on June 10 had floated a tender for the construction work. “However, we hope to manage the delay by multitasking and finish the project by December 2026.”
“The project will be implemented under 12 packages, of which land development at the depot will be the first one,” he said.
Project Director Md Saidul Hoque said: “Some 15 bidders have purchased tender documents in order to submit them by September. We need at least six months to issue a work order after evaluating their proposals.”
“Around 72% of the work on drawing detailed designs and 74% of land acquisition have been completed. Detailed designs will be completed by June 2022,” he added.
However, the tender value of Phase 1 was not disclosed.
According to project officials, the depot will be built at Pitalganj in Narayangaj's Rupganj. The Notun Bazar station will serve as an interchange. A total of 30 acres of land will be acquired for this purpose.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in October last year had approved the Tk52,561.43 crore project, to be implemented within September 2019 and December 2026.
The government will provide Tk13,111crore while the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) will fund Tk39,450 crore.
Under the plan, the Airport-Kamalapur route will have 12 underground stations — airport, Terminal-3 of the airport, Khilkhet, Jamuna Future Park, Notun Bazar, Uttar Badda, Badda, Hatirjheel East, Rampura, Malibagh, Rajarbagh and Kamalapur.
The Purbachal part will have stations at Notun Bazar, Bashundhara R/A, Police Officers' Housing Society, Mastul, Purbachal West, Purbachal Centre and Purbachal East.
The authorities have been planning to use modern technology not only for sustainability but also to lessen public sufferings usually caused by such massive projects.
“We will start the construction work at a time at four points — Kamalapur, Kuril, Notun Bazar and Dhaka airport,” said Saidul Hoque.
He said four modern boring machines would be used for underground excavation and some machines would be used to build the underground channels at a time.
As most of the construction will happen underground, the project will not hamper vehicular movement on the roads and will not cause sufferings to people, he said.
“Similarly, underground utility lines won’t be disturbed as the boring work will happen at least 10 meters under the surface level,” Saidul added.
“However, the stations will be built through an open cut process and that will interrupt traffic but it won’t take more than six months,” he said.
The MRT Line-1 will be the second among the six lines that the government plans to build in the capital city and its adjacent areas to ease traffic congestion and control environmental pollution.
The government plans to build the 128.74 km metro rail network -- 67.56 km elevated and 61.17 km underground -- with 104 stations within the year 2030.
Construction of the country’s first-ever metro rail line -- MRT-6 -- is now ongoing. It will connect Uttara Third Phase with Motijheel with 20.10 km of elevated rail lines.
The MRT-6 line has, till May 31, made 65% progress. However, more than 85% of the construction was done between Uttara and Agargaon.
The first metro rail train will likely make its maiden journey in June 2022.