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VOL 21 NO 87 REGD NO DA 1589 | Dhaka, Friday, February 07 2014
Posted : 07 Feb, 2014 00:00:00 AA-A+
DTCA, LGED in row over bus rapid transit on flyover
Munima Sultana

Authorities of the bus rapid transit and the Moghbazar-Malibagh flyover projects are locked in a row over changes in the design of the under-construction flyover to accommodate an uninterrupted bus lane in it.

Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) has been implementing the bus service between Shahjalal International Airport and Jhilmil project since 2010, which is now at the stage of detailed design.

The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) has already started implementation of the Moghbazar-Malibagh flyover based on its design completed in 2005.

The DTCA officials said despite the fact that several letters were sent, the LGED is yet to respond to the demand for setting up two separate lanes in the Moghbazar segment of the flyover.

They said immediate incorporation of the BRT (bus rapid transit) lane in the under-construction Moghbazar-Malibagh flyover was necessary to avoid any future conflict or non-functionality of any of the two projects.

Experts say the 20-kilometre BRT being a mass transport system must have to be speedy and uninterrupted to transit 30,000 passengers per hour through the corridor.

If the passengers or transports are stuck in between, the benefit of the service would be elusive, they observed.

Setting up of three BRT lines has been proposed in the 20-year-long policy, Strategic Transport Policy (STP) being one of the two mass transport services.

However, in response to the DTCA demand, the LGED raised the point that any change in the design was not possible in the built-up city, where land acquisition was quite impossible.

"We are not against the BRT line, but the reality is in the design increasing lanes would not be possible," the project director said.

DTCA called a transport steering committee meeting to discuss the issue. The meeting, however, ended without any solution.

Sources said as the funding arrangement of the BRT line was yet to be confirmed, the LGED shows reluctance in the change in the design. Besides, they are yet to accept the consultant's proposal to set up BRT stations on the flyover on both sides of the Hatijheel lake project area.

"It is not easy to change the design. It is time-consuming and may cause loss to the project contractors and the implementing agency," said another official expressing doubt about the implementation of the BRT line.

The government is implementing two BRT lines - one from Gazipur to Airport and another from Airport to Jhilmil project.

Besides, two other BRT lines are on plan as per the STP.

The first BRT has been implemented with the financial assistance of the Asian Development Bank. Though the World Bank is financing the preparation work of the BRT like feasibility study, the detailed design etc, it has yet to give confirmation on funding.

A BRT project official, however, said there is no chance of non-implementation of the BRT project, but it would be hard to incorporate it once a structure is constructed.

Professor Shamsul Hoque of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) said adding another lane might be considered for reducing traffic pressure on the flyover.

He, however, stressed setting up of the drop-pick up station in the part of Hatijheel which has open space and would help passengers get a connecting facility to go to the lake and nearby areas.

As per the feasibility study, two stations were proposed on the BRT line: at the beginning of Hatirjheel lake and the Moghbazar intersection which could not be materialised due to the beginning of work of the Moghbazar-Malibagh flyover.

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