The construction work of metro rail from Airport Station to Kamalapur Station is likely to start early next year, amid challenges of completing the utility shifting work and finalising the detailed design.
Sources said Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) has already started utility verification survey of the mass rapid transit line -1 (MRT-1) and fixed the schedule to call tenders for its 12 packages of works.
Though there is a target to complete the utility verification survey in June, they said the MRT-1 would be more challenging than the MRT-6 due to different construction methods.
"In case of MRT 6, the utility lines were removed only from the spaces of piers. But in case of MRT-1, the utility lines will have to be identified with their weights, lengths and location to confirm the design and carry out construction work of the underground tracks and stations under those lines," said an official preferring not to be named.
He said the 31.2 km MRT-1 will have more than 19 km lines and 12 stations underground. The Tk 520 billion project has both underground and elevated lines and stations with an extension towards Purbachal new town.
Though the state-owned company has almost completed the detailed design of the new line, sources said, the design for the Kamalapur Station site could not be started for being unable to finalise the site.
The DMTCL has been facing difficulties to get required land for its planned three MRTs at the site of Kamalapur station as the Bangladesh Railway (BR) has a plan to use its entire station area for developing multimodal transport hub with private investment.
Sources said the BR recommended the DMTCL to use front side of the station road for both MRT 6 and 1.
But the DMTCL design consultant has found difficulties to use the land underground for MRT 1 station. It has requested the BR to get its green land at the eastern site for its station which is not yet confirmed.
The DMTCL has taken a move to develop six metro rail lines under the strategic transport plan which was revised in 2015.
Of these, only MRT 6 has reached to construction level and completed more than 50 per cent work of the 20.1 km line. Its first set of train is likely to arrive in the country at the end of April next.
DMTCL officials said that despite the challenges, the progress of the MRT-1 is also good.
They said the expression of interest (EoI) for appointing the construction supervision consultant for the MRT-1 project has already been called.
They said the entire line construction work would be carried in 12 packages, of which, the depot site development work would start in January next.
The contract package (CP) 1 for depot site development work at Purbachal area and CP 12 for rolling stock would be called first.
However, sources said, tenders for construction work of both underground and elevated part of the line under CP 3, 4, 5, 6,7, 8 would start in the middle of 2022.
They also said the utility verification survey at two stations, out of the total 12, has already been completed.
They, however, said that as the Kamalapur Station site has not been confirmed yet, the utility verification would be difficult to complete by June. Besides, location of the Khilkhet station is on the busy highway corridor that would also take time.
Amid all these challenges, sources confirmed that the tender for the depot site development work will be called in January. The officials said the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has already confirmed providing loan for the project.