Dhaka Metro and Bus Rapid Transit System Construction Inaugurated

Dhaka Metro and Bus Rapid Transit System Construction Inaugurated :On 26 June 2016, at a ceremony held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina finally inaugurated construction work for Dhaka’s planned new metro system, in the hope that it will ease traffic congestion in the country’s capital. On the occasion she also inaugurated work on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system Gazipur depot.
The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line 6 metro project, formalized as Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit, is being implemented by government-owned Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd under the supervision of Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader confirmed that construction of the metro depot has already started: Tokyo Construction Ltd is carrying out the depot land development work.
The 20.1 km long MRT line 6, from Uttara to Motijheel’s Shapla Chattar, will be elevated all the way. Metro Rail Project Director Mofazzel Hossain commented: “As per the schedule, the Metro Rail will be completed by 2024, however the government has announced that the first phase of the project (Uttara – Agargaon) would be completed by December 2019 and the rest (Uttara – Motijheel) will be opened for passengers within December 2020.”

Apparently the winning bidder has already been selected but not yet announced.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has committed to provide significant funds for the project, approximately 75%, with the Bangladesh government providing the difference.

The minister also talked about two other lines:

The 27 km long MRT line 1 will run from Gazipur to Keraniganj Jhilmil, with the first construction phase covering from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kamalapur and from Khilkhet to Purbachal.
The 35 km long MRT line 5 will run from east to west, from Bhulta in Narayanganj to Gabtoli, with the first phase covering the section from Bhatara to Gabtoli-Hemayetpur.

Construction of the BRT project, officially named Greater Dhaka Sustainable Urban Transport Project, has already missed three deadlines. Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority Executive Director Kaikobad Hossain said: “It’s true that the BRT project has moved slowly, but it will run fast now. We have solved the problems. Detailed design is complete and land acquisition is underway.”

Mr. Quader stated that the BRT system will make commuting between the city center and Uttara and Tongi easier. “There will be 25 stations on the 20.5 km BRT route from the Gazipur terminal to the airport. Six flyovers will also be built.” He added: “Altogether one hundred articulated buses will run on this route. Commuters will use electronic smart cards to pay bus fares.”

Once complete, it will take 20 minutes to come from Gazipur’s Shibbari to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. The plan for the section from the airport to Karaniganj is yet to be finalized.

With regards to timeframes Mr. Quader explained: “We hope to open the BRT in December 2018.”

The government, the Asian Development Bank, the French Development Agency and the Global Environmental Facility Fund are jointly funding the BRT project.
A multimodal hub is still planned to be constructed in the Bangladesh Railway’s land near the Airport Rail Station. This multimodal terminal would facilitate interchange between two BRT routes, the railway network and the airport terminals.

Dhaka, the capital and largest city of Bangladesh, has a population of approximately 7 million people. The Greater Dhaka Area has a population that exceeds the 17 million mark. It is one of the world’s most traffic congested cities.

Writer: John Carlo Ottaviani

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