01/28/2022, 14.48
BANGLADESH
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Bangladesh’s first metro line almost completed

by Sumon Corraya

The 16-station line links Uttara to Motijheel. The whole trip will take 38 minutes instead of the three-four hours it takes by bus today. Trains will start running by December this year.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Bangladesh's first metro line, a 20 km-plus route from Uttara to Motijheel, is ready to go. Yesterday, workers successfully installed the last span of the viaduct.

Local authorities reported that 74 per cent of the project is completed. At an online press conference, Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited Director Man Siddique said that the viaduct installation work was successful and that a proposal is on the table to increase spending by 80 billion taka (US$ 930 million) due to the pandemic.

The cost of the project was originally estimated at 219.8 billion taka (US$ 256 million) but further funding was requested for additional works, including the extension of the line to Kamalapur and the construction of access and exit routes to stations easily accessible to passengers.

"This is a big milestone for the country,” Man Siddique said. "If everything goes well, the train service from Uttara to Agargaon is expected to start in December this year. But the train will run from Uttara to Motijheel in December, 2023.”

Initially, about 500,000 people are expected to use the service every day, whilst, above the busy roads, the elevated metro rail will carry up to 60,000 passengers per hour when the project is completed. By 2035, 1.8 million people should be able to use the metro.

It will thus be possible to reach Motijheel from Uttara in just 38 minutes, after passing all 16 stations on the line. At present, the same journey takes three to four hours by bus.

The original 20.1 km project was extended by 1,1 km to reach Kamalapur. Trains will be electrically-powered and the elevated stations are 180-metre long each.

On the invitation of the Bangladeshi government, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) carried out a primary survey and feasibility study of Dhaka’s transportation system back in 2009-2010.

In 2012, the government's Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the project, and the following year, the government secured a loan from JICA.

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