The Dhaka Elevated Expressway is being inaugurated today, Saturday, ensuring congestion-free smooth commute for Dhaka’s north-south traffic. There are ramps at specific points to get on and off the expressway. Vehicles cannot halt anywhere along the expressway except at the toll plazas.
The expressway is 19.73km. Starting from Kaula near Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, it will follow the rail line route along Tejgaon, Maghbazar, Kamalapur and on up to Kutubkhali near Jatrabari along the Dhaka-Chattogram highway.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the expressway today, Saturday, from Kaula up till Tejgaon. After inauguration, the expressway will be open to general traffic from 6:00 in the morning on Sunday. The government aims at opening the remaining stretch from Tejgaon to Kutubkhali in June next year.
There will be ramps at 31 points along the expressway. Including the ramps, the total length of the expressway is 46.73 km. It will have 11 toll plazas. Once the entire route is open, it will take 20 minutes for a vehicle to cross, according to the project proposal. It will take 12 minutes from Kaula to Tejgaon.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina at 4:99 pm Saturday will unveil the inaugural plaque at the old trade fair grounds in Agargaon and take part in a prayer. A gathering will also be held there.
The government in 2005 approved of a 20-year strategic transport plan (STP) for Dhaka. This was updated in 2015. This plan includes proposal for the construction of the metro rail, elevated expressway, ring road, etc. The government is implementing this transport plan in and around Dhaka. The Dhaka elevated expressway is part of this plan.
Kaula to Tejgaon
The Kaula to Tejgaon stretch to be inaugurated today, Saturday, is 11 km. There are 11 ramps along this stretch – two in the airport area, three at Kuril, four in Banani, three in Mohakhali, two at Bijoy Sarani and one at Farmgate. But two of the exit ramps, at Mohakhali and Banani Road 11, will be opened at a later date.
Eight types of vehicles will be able to use the expressway. These include buses, minibuses, cars (sedans), microbuses, SUVs and certain trucks and pickups. Motorcycles, CNG-run auto-rickshaws and other three-wheelers and bicycles will not be able to use the expressway. Pedestrians also will not be able to use this.
Toll will have to be paid for vehicles using this route. The government has fixed the toll rate. There are six toll plazas from Kaula to Tejgaon.
According to the design, the speed limit on the expressway is 80km/h. But from Kaula to Tejgaon, for the time being, the government has fixed the speed limit at 60km/h.
Entry and exit points
The bridges division has issued a notice announcing the points to get on to the expressway and to exit. In the north, one can get on the expressway at three points -- Kaula, Pragati Sarani and near the army golf club along Airport Road. The exit ramps are at Banani Kemal Attatuk Avenue, in front of Mohakhali bus terminal and Indira Road at Farm Gate.
In the south, the ramps to get on to the expressway are at the north and south lanes at Bijoy Sarani and in front of the Banani railway station. The exit ramps are in front of Mohakhali bus terminal, the Airport Road in front of Banani Kemal Attaturk Avenue, Kuril Biswa Road and in from of the airport third terminal.
The bridges division guidelines say it is prohibited to stop the car and get out along the expressway to take photographs. The speed limit on the ramp is 40 km/h.
Tk 138.57 billion project
Bangladesh Bridges Division is implementing this project on a public private partnership basis. The bridges division has provided the land on behalf of the government. The displaced persons are being rehabilitated. Funds are being spent on consultants. Companies of Thailand and China are bearing 73 per cent of the construction costs. Bangladesh is bearing the remaining 27 per cent. According to the contract, the investors will collect their capital investment and profit from the toll over a period of 25 years. After that, it will be handed over to the Bangladesh government.
The Dhaka expressway project is divided into two – the main construction work and the affiliated work. Expenditure on the main construction has been estimated at Tk 89.40 billion. The government is bearing Tk 24.13 billion of this amount. The rest is being paid by the investing companies.
Outside of this, there is a separate project for the costs of land acquisition, rehabilitation of the displaced and consultants. The government is bearing the entire cost of this. This project cost is presently estimated at Tk 49.17 billion. The entire cost of the two projects together is Tk 138.57 billion.
The police will have to be active at the toll plazas and the exit points or else there may be traffic jams.Shamsul Hoque, Professor of BUET’s civil engineering department and transport expert
How the project progressed
The project was taken up in 2009. Two years were spent on finalising the route and drawing up the design. The agreement with the Thailand-based Italthai company was signed in 2011. On 30 April the same year the prime minister laid the foundation stone of for the construction work. The work was supposed to be completed in three and a half years, but the deadline was extended five times.
The Italthai company later included two companies of China—Shandong International Economic and Technical Cooperation and Sinohydro Corporation. The year 2020 was officially taken as the starting date.
Earlier, on 30 March 2019 they signed a USD 461 million credit agreement with China Exim Bank. They took another loan of USD 400 million from the Industrial Commercial Bank of China. In total, the investing companies drew up a credit agreement of USD 861 million. The two banks have released half the loan amount. The work gathered momentum once the Chinese firms joined and the bank loan was availed.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Professor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)’s civil engineering department and transport expert, Shamsul Hoque, said that goods carrying vehicles were considered to be the main users of the expressway. But until the entire expressway is functional, there will be less cargo carriers. Buses won’t use this much because the route hasn’t been designed in such a way and the passengers will normally be below. The car passengers will benefit the most at present.
Shamsul Hoque said, the good part of this expressway is that the ramps are not on the main road, but to one side. But the police will have to be active at the toll plazas and the exit points or else there may be traffic jams.