Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said the opening of Dhaka Elevated Expressway is another milestone in the country's communication sector and it would play a significant role in reducing traffic congestion.
"This [Dhaka Elevated Expressway] is a new milestone in the communication sector. I have inaugurated Dhaka Elevated Expressway PPP Project's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Farmgate portion. Work on its remaining portion will be completed soon," she told a rally at the Old Trade Fair Ground at Agargaon after the formal inaugural.
The prime minister said she has given the expressway as a gift to residents of Dhaka and the people across the country, adding that it would play a great role in developing communication between the capital and the rest of the country.
"The long standing expectation of the residents of Dhaka has been fulfilled with the opening of the expressway. The expressway will play a great role in reducing traffic jams significantly," she said.
Dhaka north and south localities that included Shahjalal International Airport, Kuril, Mohakhali, Tejgaon, Farmgate, Moghbazar and Kamlapur will witness huge progress in reducing traffic gridlock, she opined.
Sheikh Hasina, also president of the Awami League, said they have already proved that it has been possible to change the fortune of the people by working for their welfare with dignity and confidence.
The prime minister vowed that Bangladesh will march towards prosperity confronting all the odds that include killing and arson terrorism alongside conquering every sort of fear such as the so-called movement to thwart the government and declaration of the US visa policy for Bangladesh.
Pointing finger at the BNP, she said they are talking about movement for revival of democracy although the party was formed undemocratically which was declared illegal by the apex court.
She questioned: "How the party which was formed undemocratically can give democracy?"
The AL chief said many people have become a little bit panicked seeing movement to dislodge the government and subsequent declaration of the US visa policy for Bangladesh.
"I want to clear one thing - the soil is ours and we made the country independent under the leadership of the Father of the Nation. So, it will bring no benefit to frighten us."
The prime minister asked her party leaders and activists and others concerned not to get frightened seeing clouds, saying, "Every cloud has a silver lining."
"The people of Bangladesh will march towards the journey of progress at indomitable pace conquering fear. The boat has always moved against the tide," she said.
She said the boat, the electoral symbol of the Awami League, has made huge development of Bangladesh, brought the country's independence and economic emancipation, and transformed Bangladesh into a digital country.
"The boat has been working to turn the country into a poverty- and hunger-free 'Smart Bangladesh' by 2041 with smart people, smart economy, smart government and smart society," she said.
The prime minister extended her heartfelt thanks to all concerned involved in building the Dhaka Elevated Expressway.
She inaugurated the much-awaited Dhaka Elevated Expressway's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport-Farmgate section for traffic by unveiling the inaugural plaque at the Old Trade Fair Ground at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar this afternoon.
PM's younger sister Sheikh Rehana was present on the occasion.
A munajat was later offered seeking divine blessings for the welfare of the country and its people.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister and Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan spoke on the occasion.
Dhaka South and North city corporation mayors Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh and Atiqul Islam, lawmaker from Dhaka-17 constituency Mohammad A Arafat and Road Transport and Bridges Affairs Ministry's parliamentary standing committee Chairman Rawshan Ara Mannan were present on the dais while Secretary of the Bridges Division Md Monjur Hossain gave the welcome address.
The prime minister was the first person who paid toll on the expressway after driving through it to Farmgate.
The Road Transport and Bridges minister received Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana with flower bouquets on their arrival at the Kawla and Old Trade Fair Ground at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar ends. After the inauguration, colorful balloons were released at the Kawla site.
After opening the expressway at Kawla end, the premier departed for the Old Trade Fair Ground at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar to attend a civic rally marking the grand opening of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway in the afternoon.
The Airport-Farmgate section will be opened to traffic tomorrow, the next day of the formal inauguration, officials said.
The length of this section is about 11.5 km. The total length of the elevated expressway is 46.73 km covering Kawla, Kuril, Banani, Mohakhali, Tejgaon, Moghbazar, Kamalapur, Sayedabad, Jatrabari to Kutubkhali on the Dhaka-Chattogram highway.
There are 15 ramps for boarding. Out of these, two ramps at Banani and Mohakhali will remain closed for the time being. Initially, 13 out of 15 ramps in this part will be opened. The ramps at Banani and Mohakhali will be opened once their construction is complete.
Initially, the speed limit on the expressway will be 60 km per hour and vehicles need 10 minutes to travel the 11 km distance from the HSIA to Farmgate. Three wheelers, bicycles and pedestrians will not be allowed to move on the expressway, while motorbikes cannot run on it right now.
The total expenditure of the project is estimated at Tk8,940 crore, while the viability gap funding is Tk2,413 crore, which will be provided by the Bangladesh government.
Construction of the second phase Banani Railway Station to Moghbazar Railway Crossing is progressing fast.