To be open for traffic from 6am on Sunday
It will take 12-15 minutes to go from Kawla to Farmgate
Motorcycles will not allowed on expressway for now
The opening of the long-awaited Dhaka Elevated Expressway on Saturday will bring a new hope of easing traffic congestion and saving time.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is set to inaugurate the Airport Road-Farmgate section of the expressway in the afternoon, and it will open to traffic at 6am on Sunday.
As a result, it will take only 12 to 15 minutes to travel from Kawla to Farmgate.
About 80,000 vehicles will be able to pass through the Dhaka Elevated Expressway every day, according to project officials.
Commuters feel that the country’s first elevated expressway will reduce suffering in the busy city.
They say it usually takes half an hour to an hour to go from Dhaka airport to Farmgate by road. Sometimes it takes one and a half to two hours or more if the traffic is heavy.
Going to the destination in 12 or 15 minutes is like a dream, say commuters who use this road on a daily basis.
They said this route is one of the most congested ones in the capital and they have to suffer while travelling on this route every day.
In such a situation, they hope that the Dhaka Elevated Expressway will save time as well as bring relief and mobility.
Increase in transport fares
However, due to the toll rates on this expressway, many passengers have expressed concern about how much transport fares will increase.
Mahibul Alam, a resident of Kawla who works at a private company, said that he travels through Farmgate every day. He believes that the suffering of Dhaka residents will be reduced to a great extent with the opening of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway.
“Those who are young like us want to avoid suffering and wasting time. We care less about money. In this case, I hope this expressway will benefit us,” he said.
Regarding the toll rates, another commuter named Arshadul Islam said: “If you want to get good service, you have to pay good money. This is why business-class airfares are higher than economy-class fares. However, it has to be ensured that fares will be within the reach of the masses. Otherwise, there will be pressure on everyone.”
Not all vehicles will be allowed
Tajul Islam, another passenger said if all vehicles are opened for movement here, it will be beneficial.
“If someone wants to go somewhere on a CNG-run autorickshaw but is not allowed then it will be of no use,” he added.
Shipon, who shares rides on motorcycles in the city, said that the expressway is complete but only four-wheelers will be allowed on it.
“We will pay the toll; allow us to ply the road. Then we will be able to take advantage of it,” he added.
On August 14, Road Transport and Bridge Minister Obaidul Quader said at a press conference that it would take 10 minutes to reach Farmgate from the airport. However, pedestrians and bicycles will not be allowed on the expressway. Motorcycles will also not be allowed for the time being.
Arifuzzaman Ripon, who was waiting for a bus in Kawla, said: “Those of us who work in distant places within Dhaka will get more benefits because we usually have to spend a long time on buses stuck in traffic. It wastes time and also drains our energy. As a result of this expressway, we will have many benefits in our time management.”
Another commuter, Shafiqul Islam, who goes to Motijheel every day from Kawla, said: “We think development work is very necessary here. But it is being partially launched; if it was fully launched then maybe its full benefit would have been available.”
Tuli, a private university student, comes to Kawla from Jurain to attend classes every day. She said: “There is no doubt that the expressway will be beneficial and it will be very beneficial for me if it is fully launched. I have to come to Kawla from Jurain every day to attend classes. It takes me a long time to come, and sometimes I miss classes.
“However, the government should ensure that its toll rates are affordable. If it is high, the expressway will not benefit everyone.”
Meanwhile, some feel that if local buses are not allowed on the expressway, traffic will not decrease that much.
Rakib, a bus driver, said the bus owner has not yet informed him whether their vehicles will ply the expressway or use the usual road.
“Due to the toll rates, how much the fare will increase has not been fixed,” he said.
Traffic will be allowed on the 11-km stretch of the expressway a day after inauguration.
As per project details, the first contract was signed on January 19, 2011, and the reviewed agreement was signed on December 15, 2013.
The project completion period was from July 2011 to June 2024.
The total length of the elevated expressway is 46.73km including 19.73km of the main elevated part.
The expressway will cover Kawla, Kuril, Banani, Mohakhali, Tejgaon, Moghbazar, Kamalapur, Sayedabad and Jatrabari to Qutubkhali on the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway.
The total expenditure of the project is estimated to be Tk8,940 crore. Of the total cost, Tk2,413 crore is being provided by the Bangladesh government.
Source: Dhaka Tribune.