Construction of the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line is expected to begin shortly as the authorities concerned have appointed a Chinese company to build 16-kilometre corridor from Gazipur to Uttara.
Roads and Highways Department (RHD) signed a Tk 8.53 billion agreement with China Gezhouba Group Company Ltd (CGGC) at a city hotel on Thursday.
Chief Engineer of RHD Ibne Alam Hasan and Director General of CGGC Zhang Tiebing signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader was present at the signing ceremony. Road Transport and Highways Secretary MAN Siddique and Project Director AQM Ekramullah, among others, were also present.
The PD said the contract is the first out of four packages of the RHD project to develop the entire 20-km corridor from Gazipur to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for operating BRT buses.
"Of the total 16 km at grade road, eight and a half kilometres will be elevated to cover cross sections including Joydevpur crossing for ensuring dedicated bus service-run unhindered," he added.
According to RHD project, CGGC will construct 16 kilometres out of the 20-km BRT road network. Under the contract, five flyovers, 32-km footpath, and 19 BRT stations will also be constructed in 30 months. The DG of the CGGC told the FE that they have planned to start the construction work in mid-January.
RHD officials said the work will widen and improve the existing four-lane road into six to eight lanes along with separating the lanes for mixed and non-motorised traffic to enable 25,000 passengers to complete the total journey in 50 minutes.
The PD said the RHD project was taken up under Greater Dhaka Sustainable Urban Transport Project in 2012 due to the rapid growth of Dhaka and Gazipur city corporation areas and the Gazipur-Uttara corridor will ensure better transport system for commuters.
Under the BRT, modern air-conditioned and articulated buses having three connected buses will run on the corridor in two to five-minute interval touching 25 stations.
The Asian Development Bank, French Development Agency and Global Environment Facility are providing Tk 16.50 billion while the government Tk 4.34 billion.
Under the Tk 20.39-billion project, the Bangladesh Bridge Authority and Local Government Engineering Department will also construct 4.5-km elevated expressway and a bus depot.
Of these, LGED has already started the construction of the depot in Gazipur. The bidding process of two other packages is now at an evaluation stage.