Sunday, February 25, 2024

Expressway work gets underway

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday inaugurated the construction work of the much-awaited Dhaka Elevated Expressway, which would reduce the acute and annoying traffic congestions in the capital. “The long-cherished dream of the city people will be fulfilled with the construction of the expressway that would be expanded from Gazipur to Narayanganj in future to facilitate smooth movement of traffic,” Sheikh Hasina said.
The Prime Minister said her government has during the last two years implemented more development projects than the BNP-Jamaat dispensation did in its five years of rule or the caretaker governments undertook when they were at the helm for two years.
Sheikh Hasina called upon people to maintain austerity in using gas and electricity considering the growing demand for energy. She also urged all to be careful in using tap water during construction of buildings and other establishments.
The government has undertaken an integrated programme in the communication sector to make Dhaka as an environment-friendly city free from traffic congestions, and water-logging, the Prime Minister said.
As part of the programmes, she said, the construction work of Ahsanullah Master flyover, Gulistan-Jatrabari flyover, Kurul flyover, and Mirpur-Banani flyover have been making good progress. The deputy prime minister of Thailand, Sittheea Morn, communications minister Syed Abul Hossain and the president of Italian-Thai Development Public Co Ltd, Prem Chai Karnasuta, also spoke on the occasion with the secretary in the bridge division, Md. Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, chairing the programme.
A munajat was offered seeking peace, progress and prosperity of the country and successful implementation of the project.
The 26-km-long Dhaka Elevated Expressway, the biggest project under public private partnership (PPP), will be built by the Ital-Thai company at an estimated cost of Tk. 8,703 crore within the next three-and-half years. The route of the present Dhaka Elevated Expressway will begin from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and connect Dhaka-Chittagong highway near Kutubkhali, passing through Mohakhali, Tejgaon, Maghbazar, Kamalapur, Golapbagh and Jatrabari.
According to the ministry of communications, the expressway will have two elevated links (Manik Mia Avenue-Holy Cross College-Tejgaon Crossing and Plassey – Katabon-Hatirpul-Hotel Sonargaon-Maghbazar Rail Crossing), seven interchanges (Kuril, Cantonment, Banani, Farmgate, Shahid Tajuddin Road, Maghbazar and Kamalapur) and 35 ramps.
The Prime Minister said her government has attached utmost importance to the communications sector to ensure overall and sustainable development through alleviating poverty and creating employment opportunities. She expressed the hope that the projects would be implemented within the stipulated timeframe.
She said the government has also taken steps to execute the Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway project under PPP and to connect with the Dhaka Elevated Expressway. She said a feasibility study is being carried out to construct underpasses in the capital city.
Regarding construction of the Padma bridge, she said a loan agreement has been signed with the World Bank to this end and the main construction work of the bridge will begin this year.
According to sources, the government, on January 19 this year, signed a concession agreement with the Ital-Thai company for design, financing, construction, cooperation and maintenance of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway (DEE).
Under the 25-year concession agreement, the concessionaire has to complete the project in three and half years from the date of issuance of the work order. The concession period of the expressway is 25 years (including construction period). The concession fee (royalty) for the Dhaka Elevated Expressway is Tk. 272.50 crore.
If the contractor fails to complete the work by the stipulated time, it will have to pay a liquidity damage of US $50,000 per day from the day following the deadline.
On the other hand, the government will have to hand over 30 per cent of the project land to the company within a maximum period of six months and 35 per cent each year in the next two years. Failing to hand over the land timely, the government will have to pay the company a compensation of US $10,000 per day. In case of delay caused by litigation, both the parties will take the next course through negotiations.
Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) sources said 60 per cent of the expressway land is ready while the rest (from Golapbagh to Kutubkhali) will have to be acquired. As per the deal, 50 per cent of the construction materials and expertise will be procured from the local market.
The Cabinet has recently approved the draft of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway Project (Land Acquisition Act) 2011, an exclusive law for timely implementation of the plan.
The toll for end-to-end journey on the expressway will be Tk. 125 for car, jeep, microbus and light truck. The rate will be double for bus, four times for six wheel truck, five times for truck with more than six wheels.
The design speed of the expressway is 80 kmph while the design life is 100 years. The guaranteed traffic of the expressway is 13,500 vehicles per day with a traffic movement ceiling of 80,000 vehicles.


Courtesy of The Independent

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