Sunday, June 23, 2024

Fresh accord for elevated expressway next week

Delay attributed to change in design
The Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) is going to sign fresh agreement with its private foreign partner for the Dhaka Elevated Expressway (DEE) project next week.
The new accord is needed as the entire design of the public-private partnership (PPP) project was changed from the one under the first agreement signed almost three years ago. The cost has now gone up to a marked extent.
Officials said both alignment and cost of the first PPP project in the infrastructure sector were changed following the government’s decision to cut two major ramps from the 26km route and change the route from Demra.
They said the cost of the Tk 87 billion project was up by Tk 2.00 billion due to construction of two ramps to get up and down from the expressway at Bijoy Sarani and Farmgate, instead of one ramp planned earlier in front of the Farmgate Khamarbari.
Besides, the height of the expressway was also increased at some points to avoid ‘conflicts’ with other projects including the Jatrabari flyover project, Banani and airport flyovers, the officials added.
“Now the length, design, foundation and height of the expressway have been changed. All these have led to escalation of the cost of the project,” said project director Kabir Ahmed.
He said the BBA is planning to sign the amended agreement by next week.
However, the sources said the cost of the project was also up due to delay in starting it as the government could not hand over land soon after the agreement was signed in 2011.
The Ital-Thai Public Development Ltd won the DEE project with its lowest financial offer of Tk 87 billion in 2010. The BBA, the project’s executing agency, signed the agreement on January 19, 2011, giving target to complete the 26km elevated road with six ramps by 2014.
Sources said the BBA and the Ital-Thai Public Development Ltd started negotiations on the change of the route last year after the Prime Minister cut the 4.0km ramps at the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway, Farmgate and Shahinbagh, close to the Mohakhali flyover due to conflict with different projects including the metro rail project and the Mayor Hanif flyover.
The PM also directed merger of the DEE with the Hanif flyover to reach the Dhaka-Chittagong highway for avoiding land acquisition- related complication in Demra due to protest by the ruling party MPs. Four MPs were against the DEE-approved route due to the additional need for acquisition of land.
Sources said it was also not acceptable to cut totally the Farmgate ramp as it was an important link for them to get traffic from the densely-populated northern part of the city as well as the northern part of the country. Besides, it was also not possible for both the DEE and the Hanif Flyover concessionaires to share tolls of the two PPP projects.
Since receiving the PM’s decision, the Ital-Thai conducted fresh traffic calculation and gave several proposals to find an acceptable solution. Finally, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the change last week.
Bridges Division Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said the BBA is planning to sign the fresh agreement soon after vetting by the ministry of law.
“All the complexities of the DEE project have been removed but we have to complete the last formality – getting it vetted by the ministry of law, consequent upon obtaining the agreement proposal from the concessionaire company,” he told the FE.
Expressing the hope to sign the agreement next week, representative of the Ital-Thai Public Development Ltd Montchai Musicadud emphasised the need for handing over the land to the company to start its construction work without delay.
“We have accepted all decisions of the government as we had no other alternative. But we want transfer of the land without delay as we have already been facing financial losses due to the delay for the changes,” he said.
The preliminary route of the DEE was approved by the Cabinet and Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in 2010, allowing the concessionaire to construct the expressway from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kutubkhali of the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway with six ramps.
He said 30 acres of land at the airport point of the DEE are yet to be handed over to the company to start the construction work.

-With The Financial Express input

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