Dhaka: Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday inaugurated construction work for the country’s first Metro rail service in Dhaka, through a video conference Sunday from a function in Dhaka’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
The first 11 km of the $2.5 billion project, which is expected to transport 60,000 passengers an hour, would be completed by 2019 and 4.4 km by 2020, Xinhua news agency reported.
An official earlier said the overhead construction of Metro line can help the Bangladeshi government’s efforts to ease traffic gridlock in Dhaka which has only 436 km of four-lane and 1,408 km of two-lane roads.
Dhaka has been experiencing severe traffic jams, creating untold suffering for commuters.
In the first phase of the 2.5 billion U.S. dollars project, 11 kilometers would be completed by 2019 and 4.4 kilometers by 2020.
The remaining 4.7 kilometers was expected to be completed by 2022.
An official had earlier said the overhead construction of metro rail can help the Bangladeshi government’s efforts to ease traffic gridlock in Dhaka which has only 436 km of 4-lane roads and 1,408 km of 2-lane roads.
Dhaka has been experiencing severe traffic jams, creating untold suffering for commuters. It is apprehended that traffic jam would be worsening in the future if steps are not taken immediately to ease the situation.
Hasina said: “The metro rail is being constructed to ease the general people’s traffic hassle and to modernise the transportation system.”
“With the construction of the metro rail, around 60,000 people will be able to travel from Uttara to Motijheel in just 38 minutes.”
In the first phase, metro rail will be opened for the passengers travelling from Uttara to Agargaon in 2019 while the rest [Uttara to Motijheel] will be opened in 2020.
The prime minister also suggested to extend the work of the first phase from Uttara to Farmgate as it would benefit the public more.
Metro Rail is the third biggest government infrastructure project underway, after the Padma Bridge and Padma rail track project. The elevated railway promises to relieve the city’s growing traffic problems.
The MRT project will be constructed under the supervision of Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Company. The project is being funded by both the government and Japan International Cooperative Agency (Jica) – Jica is contributing Tk16,594.59 crore to the project, while the government is paying Tk5,390.48 crore.
When complete and in operation, the MRT stations will see a train come every 3.5 minutes, and it will take 37 minutes for a train to cover the distance between Motijheel and Uttara.
The BRT project is a dedicated bus lane which will be constructed between Dhaka and Gazipur on the existing six-lane highway.
Once complete, 100 articulated buses will run on the BRT route. Passengers will be required to use a smart card to use the service.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be around Tk2,040 crore, Tk1,650 crore of which will provided by the Asian Development Bank, French Development Agency, and Global Environmental Facility Fund. The rest will be provided by the government.
Construction phase of Metro Rail
The proposed elevated metro rail connecting the two ends of the capital is indeed a welcome move. This will greatly ease movement of commuters across the city as it will the traffic congestion. The government should be complimented for taking up the much needed alternative mode of travel within the city for the greater portion of the general public who are dependent on public transport.
The project is expected to take between three and four years to be completed and we would like to express our concern regarding the attendant problem of such projects. The inevitable consequence of the construction is the disruption of traffic all along the route of the project. It has been our sorry experience that building of flyovers, over-bridges and loops in the capital were started without arranging alternative traffic plans, as is done in other countries. The Mouchak-Moghbazar flyover is a classic example of the level of distress public has to endure without a workable substitute provision for the movement of vehicles during the period of construction. With undue time overrun, the problem was even more compounded.
We would not like to see the public put through the same experience with people left to their own devices and the authorities hoping that the problem would take care of itself. The planners should be aware that this is not just another flyover. It covers a distance of 20 kilometres and goes over major conurbations. This being a multi billion dollar project, investing a fraction of it to ensure unrestricted movement of traffic along the length of the under construction metro rail will be worth the money.