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POST TIME: 14 October, 2019 11:25:24 PM
Plan to end Dhaka tailbacks by 2028
DEEPAK ACHARJEE, Dhaka

Plan to end Dhaka tailbacks by 2028

With the ongoing construction work of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-6, the government is set to begin construction of MRT Line-5 and MRT Line-1 to ease Dhaka’s traffic congestion by 2028. The authorities are going to start the construction work of the MRT Line-1 and MRT Line-5 within this year with the aim to complete the job within 2026 and 2028 respectively, said sources in the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Company Ltd (DMTCL). Already, the road transport and bridges ministry has prepared two sets of proposals in this regard. The proposals have been sent to the planning commission for being placed at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) today.

The DMTCL will implement the project at a cost of Tk. 93,800 crore. As in the case of MRT Line-5, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide financial assistance to the tune of Tk. 68,567.32 crore to meet a part of the total project cost, while the remaining Tk. 25,232.60 crore would come from the state exchequer, according to the proposals. Under the MRT Line-1 project, a total of 31.241 km of route, including the 16.21-km underground from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kamalapur via Badda and 11.36-km of elevated route from Kuril to Purbachal Depot via Notun Bazar and Jamuna Future Park, would be constructed by December 2026.

According to the proposal, a total of 20 km route—6.50 km would be elevated from Hemayetpur to Aminbazar and 13.50 km would be through an underground from Aminbazar to Bhatara—is expected to be completed by December 2028.

The MRT Line-5 route would start from Hemayetpur and end at Vatara via Aminbazar, Gabtoli, Mirpur-1, Mirpur-10, Kochukhet, Banani, Gulshan-1, and Natunbazar.

According to sources, the DMTCL is constructing the MRT Line-6, the country’s first metro rail project, having a length of 20.1 km. Its work is expected to be completed by 2024. The government plans to start the operation of the 11.73-km Agargaon section from Uttara of the MRT Line-6 from December next year.

A DMTCL senior official told The Independent that they already completed the detailed design work of the projects with the consultants after conducting feasibility studies.

“The underground position of Dhaka city and its land are suitable for construction of subways. The situation is much like Osaka, Japan. That’s why the subway will be constructed on the lines of the Osaka subway, which is 20–25 metres below the surface,” he said.

“The modern tunnel-boring machine will be used in the construction of subway tunnels. So, there will be no public suffering during the work. No environmental degradation will occur either,” he added.

Under the MRT Line-1, the airport part will have 12 underground stations—at airport, terminal-3 of the airport, Khilkhet, Jamuna Future Park, Notun Bazar, Uttar Badda, Badda, Hatirjheel, Rampura, Malibagh, Rajarbagh and Kamalapur.

The Purbachal part will have nine stations—Notun Bazar, Jamuna Future Park, Bashundhara, Police Officers’ Housing Society, Mastul, Purbachal West, Purbachal Centre, Purbachal Sector-7 and Purbachal depot. Among them, seven would be elevated and the remaining two—Notun Bazar and Jamuna Future Park—would be underground as part of the Airport-Kamalapur route.

The stations of the MRT Line-5 are Hemayetpur, Baliapur, Bilamalia, Amin Bazar,Gabtoli, Dar-us-salam, Mirpur1, Mirpur10,Mirpur14, Kochunkhet, Banani, Gulshan2, NotunBazar, Vatara. Sources said the government planned to set up strong metro rail links with six routes by 2030.

Dhaka is one of the most densely populated cities in the world with about 43,500 people per sq km. The Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) had prepared a 20-year strategic transport plan (STP) in 2005 to develop an efficient, integrated and modern transit system in and around the capital. Under the STP , five mass rapid transit (MRT) and two bus rapid transit (BRT) lines were proposed, while the MRT Line and BRT Line-3 are being constructed.