A Tk 2.43 billion project is ready to study the feasibility of constructing four subways through Dhaka city so that commuters could duck down the over-ground traffic congestion, officials said.
Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) is now working to select a firm for conducting the viability checkup on the planned underground railroads.
Proposals of 16 companies from home and abroad, which have shown interest in the work, are being evaluated, said Chief Engineer of the BBA Kabir Ahmed.
He told the FE Tuesday that they had primarily selected four routes for the metro from four directions to carry burgeoning traffic loads in the busy capital city.
"We had earlier sought expression of interest (EoI) from the international bidders. Some 16 firms have submitted bids. Now we are evaluating those proposals. And then we will pick one from among them for the planned study," Mr Ahmed added.
The BBA-planned four subway routes are: 32-kilometre-long Tongi-Airport-Mohakhali-Maghbazar-Paltan-Motijheel Shapla crossing-Syedabad-Signboard (Narayanganj), 16km Aminbazar-Gabtoli-Asadgate-New Market-TSC-Ittefaq-Syedabad, Gabtoli-Mirpur-1-Mirpur-10- Kakoli-Gulshan-2-Natun Bazar-Rampura TV station-Shapla Crossing-Jagannath Hall-Keraniganj, and Rampura TV station-Niketan-Tejgaon-Sonargaon Hotel-Panthapath-Dhanmondi 27-Rayer Bazar-Jigatola-Ajimpur-Lalbagh-Sadarghat.
Another BBA official said they had plans to complete the feasibility study for the Dhaka underground rail or subway within two years.
The BBA Chief Engineer, Mr Ahmed, said they would try to find the viability of the routes through assessing the existing and future traffic movement, benefit of the passengers, and financial and economic returns from the subway.
"We have sought the funds from government's own exchequer to begin the feasibility on an emergency basis. If we search for foreign assistance, it can waste some time to start the work," he said.
If the subway project is found feasible, then they would look for investors to invest in the subway venture.
"We have a plan to construct the subways on build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis. We are now discussing it with some international investors. Many of them are interested to invest in the underground railway," he said.
A Planning Commission official told the FE that they were scrutinizing the proposed feasibility-study project of the BBA's Dhaka subway before placing it before the government's highest economic policymaking body, ECNEC.
Meanwhile, Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) is now working to set up Dhaka Metrorail MRT line-6 along Uttara 3rd Phase-Pallabi-Agargaon-Farmgate-Shahbagh-Doyelchattar-Motijheel route over the ground.
Besides, it has also a plan to construct the Metrorail-5 from Bhulta (Dhaka-Sylhet Highway)-Hatirjheel link road via Bhatara, Natun Bazar, Madani Road, Kamal Ataturk Avenue, Mirpur 10, Gabtoli bus terminal, Mirpur Road, Dhanmondi and Bahsundhara and Metrorail-1 from Dhaka Airport to Kamalapur, which will later be extended from the Airport to Gazipur and Kamalapur to Keraniganj's Jhilmil residential area.
In addition, the government is working to set up three Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines in the capital city under a massive transport-upgrading plan.
Mr Ahmed said they would select the subway routes aligning those with the planned MRT and BRT lines in order to avoid conflict of routes.