18 Key Road, Rail Projects: Physical work under way

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Despite the continuing seven-day “tight lockdown” aimed at meeting their new deadlines, actual work on 18 major infrastructure projects in the road and rail sectors will continue.

Using the exception of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project, all are being built with foreign financing. 15 of the projects’ deadlines have already been changed at least once.

Physical work on almost all of the projects was suspended for more than two months after the government proclaimed a “shutdown” in March last year to prevent the spread of Covid-19, according to officials connected with the projects.

When the authorities were attempting to re-energize project work, a second wave of the epidemic struck the country in March of this year, delaying their progress.

The administration now intends to continue these huge projects while adhering to all relevant health and safety regulations, according to officials.

The railways ministry issued an order on Wednesday declaring that Bangladesh Railway will continue to follow relevant health safety rules in the development of six “state-owned public interest projects.”

According to the order, issued in response to Cabinet Division directions, all those involved in the projects must carry identification cards, and the authorities responsible must provide their lists to the police department.

Padma Bridge Rail Link Project, Chattogram-Bazar Cox’s Rail Link, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge, Akhaura-Laksham Double Line Construction, Khulna-Mongla Rail Link, and Dhaka-Tongi Rail Line Expansion Project are the six projects. The first two are two of the government’s eight priority projects.

All six initiatives are funded by outside sources, and their deadlines have been extended at least once.

The BR is currently working on 41 projects.

Meanwhile, during the “tight lockdown,” the Road Transport and Highways Division (RTHD) has ordered the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) to continue eight foreign-aid projects.

Approximately 200 projects are now being implemented by the RHD.

RHD Chief Engineer Abdus Sabur, speaking to The Daily Star Tuesday, said, “Eight projects have been asked to be continued. For the time being, the others will be halted.”

The eight projects are: Greater Dhaka Sustainable Urban Transport Project, which will implement a dedicated bus line (Bus Rapid Transit) from Dhaka airport to Gazipur; SASEC Road Connectivity Project-1 and 2, which will expand roads from Joydebpur in Gazipur to Rangapur to four lanes; Cross Border Road Network Improvement Project (CBRNIP); and Western Bangladesh Bridge Improvement Project.

During the “tight lockdown,” development on the country’s first metro rail, formally known as Mass Rapid Transit Line-6 (MRT Line-6), will continue.

When our writer visited the Farmgate neighborhood yesterday, he discovered that the construction was under progress.

MAN Siddique, general director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd, the project’s implementing agency, told The Daily Star yesterday, “We would continue our job keeping health safety requirements.”

The MRT Line-6 is being built with a Japanese loan from Uttara Third Phase to Motijheel at a cost of Tk 22,000 crore.

Until last month, the project has made 67.63 percent progress. The project’s original target was June 2024, but the authority planned to “early commission” it in December of this year.

The authorities is now planning to get the first segment — Uttara to Agargaon — operational from June next year, after missing the deadline due to the pandemic.

During the “tight lockdown,” the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) will continue physical work on three projects: the Padma Bridge, the Bangabandhu Tunnel, and the Dhaka Elevated Expressway, according to Bridge Division Secretary Abu Bakr Siddique.

He informed this newspaper that the BBA would continue to work on its part in the Bus Rapid Transit project.

Until May of this year, the long-awaited Padma bridge project had made 86 percent development. The government has stated that the 6.15-kilometer bridge will be open to traffic in June of next year. The announcement came after many revisions to the project’s completion deadline.

The First Dhaka Elevated Expressway project is being implemented by the BBA as a public-private partnership effort.

The project work picked again in February of last year after missing multiple deadlines due to delays in site acquisition and financial management by the private partner.

From Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kutubkhali, a 47-kilometer expressway with a 19.73-kilometer main line is being built.

Until May of this year, the Bangabandhu Tunnel under the Karnaphuli river in Chattogram had made 69 percent development. The project is expected to be finished by December of next year.

Source: The Daily Star

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