Rapid bus route planned for city

Work starts early next year on 45-km Gazipur-Sadarghat double-lane route
The government has planned to start work on a double-lane rapid bus route in the capital early next year to introduce an improved mass transportation service and ease the perennial traffic gridlock.
The 45-kilometre long route, otherwise known as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), has two segments. Stretching from Gazipur to Sadarghat, it will occupy two central lanes (6.5-metre wide) of the existing road.
The final feasibility report and preliminary design of its 20-km long section between Gazipur and Shahjalal International Airport is due by this month, said Project Director Md Aminur Rahman Laskar.
The other portion, proposed in the Strategic Transport Plan as BRT-3, stretches from the airport to Sadarghat.
To manage the heavy load of traffic, the existing roads will be widened, added Aminur.
With the BRT in place, a commuter will be able to travel from airport to Sadarghat in about one-and-a-half hours, said officials involved in the scheme. Presently it takes more than three hours during peak hours.
There will be adequate number of stations to serve the short-distance commuters.
According to Aminur, BRT will be an affordable and pro-people transportation facility with improved and dedicated bus service. This will also bring down the uses of private cars.
Anisur Rahman, project director of BRT-3, said the BRT facility with rapid bus service is estimated to carry 20,000 passengers per hour in one direction and will help resolve the present traffic snarl-up in the capital.
Dhaka Transport Coordination Board (DTCB) will go for a feasibility study of BRT-3 later this month under the Clean Air and Sustainable Environment (CASE) project, noted SM Saleh Uddin, additional executive director of DTCB.
In addition to developing BRT, the CASE project will restructure the route and improve traffic management.
The Gazipur-airport section will take the central lanes of the existing national highway and is expected to be complete by 2013.
The airport-Sadarghat segment is scheduled to be done by 2014. It would pass through Mohakhali, Tejgaon, Moghbazar and Kakrail.
At Kakrail, one part of it will cross Rajarbagh, DIT extension road, Bangabhaban, Kaptanbazar, Baldha Garden and Babu Bazar.
The other part will stretch by the Matsya Bhaban, through Abdul Ghani Road, Golap Shah Mazar, North South Road and merge in Babu Bazar to finally reach Sadarghat.
However, a speedy commuter train service with the existing Joydevpur-Narayanganj rail track would be a better option, said Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, a noted civil engineer and transport expert.
Since the rail track is along the proposed BRT route, it would call for less investment and trouble, he pointed out.
The BRT is hardly compatible with the national highway route, observed Chowdhury adding, it would reduce the capacity of the national highway unless the latter is widened.
Around 6000 buses ply the Dhaka roads now, said Md Shamsul Hoque, a member of the project’s technical sub-committee.
The BRT system with articulated (conjoined) rapid bus will better the service by three times and will also bring the number of buses down to one-third.
Advanced Logistic Group, a Spanish consulting firm, is carrying out the feasibility study of the Gazipur-airport section. The study is funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Roads and Highways Department will construct it, said Saleh Uddin of DTCB.
The same consultant will also conduct the feasibility study and prepare preliminary design of BRT-3. The source of finance for this phase is yet to be confirmed.
The consultant has to prepare the design and final feasibility report within one year beginning from March.
Dhaka Mass Transport Company will be formed to implement BRT-3 and it will ultimately take over all the mass transport systems, including metro rail, for operations, maintenance and revenue management, added Saleh Uddin.
The DTCB official stated that cost of this section has been estimated at $190 million, of which ADB has offered $125 million, bilateral development partners $28 million and the rest will come from the government’s own fund.
The World Bank will finance the Tk9.5-crore feasibility study and preliminary design of airport to Sadarghat segment and Tk10 crore for its detailed design, said Project Director Anisur Rahman.
According to him, the construction cost per kilometre of BRT route has been estimated at $10 to 15 million, as a section of it has to be elevated.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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