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Looking at the big picture

  • Published at 01:04 pm May 10th, 2018
Looking at the big picture
Photo: NASHIRUL ISLAM

Dhaka needs a proper long-term transportation plan. 

In this regard, the government has undertaken several initiatives over the last decade or so in hopes that the capital continues to see steady improvements -- through the construction of new flyovers, u-loops, and the Revised Strategic Action Plan (RSAP). 

But problems still persist when it comes to planning and implementation. 

This is evidenced by the recent realization that, due to a flawed approach, two major projects -- the elevated expressway and one of the underground metro rail lines -- seem set to collide in Mirpur road. 

The root of the problem is the lack of inclusion of the expressway -- one which may not have been necessary in the first place -- in the Revised Strategic Action Plan (RSAP), creating a situation where two concurrent projects are in direct conflict. 

One of the biggest contributions of the RSAP was the inclusion of the metro rail, which will no doubt be a welcome addition to the city’s transport eco-system as it is able to carry a great number of passengers. 

But the 10.5km expressway (a six-lane flyover with two bus lanes and four express tolls), on the other hand, is an overly expensive and potentially ineffective project.

Experts have long criticized the problems with flyovers, which only succeed in moving the congestion from one point in the city to another, but not alleviating congestion overall.

The project will also inevitably create immense congestion during construction, creating massive tailbacks and bringing the Mirpur area to a halt, exacerbating an already terrible traffic situation. 

The true solution to Dhaka’s problem, apart from decentralization, is to focus on the metro rail project and to continue to improve existing infrastructure. 

It is only through a holistic, coordinated approach that we will even begin to solve Dhaka problems.