Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina fired the starting pistol on a project to build a landscape-transforming, 24km elevated expressway in the congested capital Dhaka Saturday (12 November).
Financed by China on a government-to-government basis, the $1.7bn project will link the city’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Ashulia in the city’s northern outskirts.
Transport authorities have signed a memorandum of understanding with the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC) to build it, Xinhua reports.
Construction is expected to take five years, it added.
The link is designed to allow 40 million people from 30 districts in the country to enter and exit Dhaka more easily.
Congestion costs billions a year
Amid rapid growth, Dhaka has a growing traffic problem. The average driving speed there has declined from 21km/h ten years ago to just 7km/h, the World Bank calculated in 2018.
It said congestion currently consumes 3.2 million working hours a day, costing the economy billions of dollars a year.
The elevated expressway will be Dhaka’s second. The first is planned to run from the international airport to KutubKhali in the south.
Construction officially started in 2011 but it hit a number of delays and is still under construction.
That project is a public-private partnership, with Italian Thai Development Public Company listed as the concessionaire.