The first section of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway - extending from the airport to Banani over a 7.45 km stretch - is poised to open to the public next year, according to the Bangladesh Bridges Authority.
Work on the project stalled due to ‘financial problems’ but is now progressing in full swing, they said.
The 46.73km Dhaka Elevated Expressway will link the Shahjalal International Airport and the Dhaka-Chattroram Highway, thus extending the road connection to Chattogram’s Kutubkhali via Kuril, Banani, Mohakhali, Tejgaon, Moghbazar, Kamalapur, Sayedabad, and Jatrabari in the capital.
The project has been split in three parts. The first section extends from the airport to Banani and covers 7.45 kilometres, the second from Banani to Moghbazar is 5.85 kilometres and the third section extends for 6.43 kilometres from Moghbazar to Kutubkhali.
It will be completed in its entirety within two and a half years, the authority said.
Work on the Tk 90 billion project began in 2011 but hit several snags since then, with only 22 per cent of the construction work being completed in the past 8 years.
Almost 50 per cent work on the first part of expressway has been completed, AHMS Akhter, director of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway Project, said.
“It will open to traffic in September next year. We hope the full project will be completed by March 2022.”
Although the project's deadline has been extended several times, the changes will not raise costs, according to the bridge authority.
The Bridges Department signed a contract with the Ital-Thai Development Company to construct the Dhaka Elevated Expressway on January 19, 2011 and the prime minister laid the foundation stone of the project on April 30 the same year.
The project had stalled for two years due to complications with land acquisition. The contract had to be renewed with the construction company in 2013 as the project cost soared due to inflation and design changes.
The land survey for the project started after the contract was renewed. Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader flagged off the construction work twice in 2014 and 2015.
The project progressed at a slow pace as the construction company failed to procure the requisite funds. The project got back on its feet once Ital-Thai went to form a partnership with two other companies.
Ital-Thai now owns 51 per cent of the project while China Shengdong International Economic and Technical Company Group Limited owns 35 per cent and Sino Hydro 14 per cent, respectively.
The new partners have begun to release funds for the project, said AHMS Akhter. China Shengdong already gave $11.48 million and Sino Hydro $5.11 million on July 31. The two organisations will disburse a further $40 million in September and $70 million in October.
The first phase of the project will be completed by September 2020 and part of the expressway up to Banani will be opened to traffic, said the project director.
Land acquisition for the second phase is complete. Different structures along the stretch from Banani to Moghbazar have been removed. Construction of this part will begin in the first week of October, bdnews24.com reports.
The third phase of construction will start in six months time.
Construction of at least 1,333 piles, 307 pile caps, 93 cross-beams, 201 completed columns and 131 partially completed columns, 186 eye-guarder and 14 spans are completed.
A total of 147 guarders were found from the pier No 1 to 15 during a visit to the airport area. The main structure or deck slab of the expressway will be constructed on the guarders.
Tolls at different rates for different types of vehicles will be charged at the expressway. Cars and microbuses will be charged Tk 125 to travel from the airport to Kutubkhali. The minimum toll for use of the expressway will be Tk 100. Buses will pay Tk 200-250 while trucks will be charged between Tk 400 and Tk 500.