Dhaka Elevated Expressway To Partially Open In September

Dhaka Elevated Expressway To Partially Open In September

After more than a decade since its initiation, a significant part of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway is set to open to traffic in September 2023. The 11-kilometer section, running from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Farmgate via Kuril, Banani, Mohakhali, and Tejgaon, will serve as an alternative route to and from the busy airport road. With 15 ramps for accessing and exiting the expressway, vehicles will be able to bypass traffic congestion and avoid heavily congested crossings and roads.

To ensure smoother traffic flow, three-wheelers and motorcycles will be prohibited on the expressway, allowing other vehicles to travel at speeds of up to 80 km per hour. The remaining 19.73-kilometer stretch of the expressway, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, is expected to open next year. Commuters will be required to pay tolls to use the expressway, which is being implemented under the Public-Private Partnership model with foreign investment, marking a significant milestone in the transport sector.

Transport expert Prof Shamsul Hoque expressed concerns about the project’s impact on easing traffic congestion. He cited the long delays in implementation and design changes in some areas as factors that may hinder its expected outcome. However, he acknowledged that once both the Dhaka Elevated Expressway and the Dhaka-Ashulia Expressway are completed, they will bring economic benefits to the country.

Construction is also underway for the Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway, which will stretch from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ) via Abdullahpur, Ashulia, and Baipail. The deadline for the DEPZ project is set for June 2026. Once both elevated expressways are operational, people from the northern, western, and southwestern regions of the country will be able to travel from one side of the city to another without entering the city streets.

A recent visit to the site revealed significant progress on the expressway. Road surfacing has been completed on major portions, lampposts have been installed along the median, and hundreds of workers are engaged in the construction of ramps. The toll plaza at the entrance of the expressway is nearly 80% complete, featuring six booths, including two equipped with an electronic toll collection system.

The project director, AHMS Akhtar, confirmed that all 15 ramps will be completed by September, although their opening to traffic will be staggered as they will not be fully utilized until the entire expressway is accessible to the public. Mr. Akhtar also stated that 90% of the construction work from the airport to Farmgate is already completed.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader announced that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the airport to Farmgate section in September. The overall progress of the project has reached 63.20% as of June.

Prof Shamsul recalled that the government initiated the elevated expressway project in 2010 to provide an alternative route amid concerns that the construction of the metro rail and bus rapid transport systems would disrupt traffic on major roads in Dhaka and adjacent areas. Delays in the project resulted in the cancellation of the bus rapid transport expansion plan from the airport to Mohakhali and the removal of a planned U-loop in the Chairman Bari area. These changes have raised concerns about increased traffic congestion in Kakali and Bijoy Sarani areas.

Despite the challenges, Prof Shamsul emphasized the economic benefits that both expressways will bring to the country. The expressways will serve as a “vertical bypass” for trucks and lorries, allowing them to travel during the day and benefiting businesses in Dhaka EPZ, Gazipur, and Savar areas.

The construction of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway began in January 2020, following two inaugurations by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2011 and Obaidul Quader in 2015. The project, costing Tk 13,857.57 crore, is being implemented through a partnership with the Italian-Thai Development Public Company and two Chinese companies, China Shandong International Economic and Technical Corporation Group, and SinoHydro Corporation Ltd. The completion of the expressways will mark a significant milestone in Bangladesh’s transportation infrastructure, offering relief to Dhaka’s traffic congestion woes.

Leave a Comment