Setting up the viaduct of the country's first metro rail from Uttara to Motijheel has been fully completed.
The entire 20.1-kilometre viaduct of the metro rail became visible after the last segment of the last span was installed near the National Press Club on Thursday morning.
Installing the last segment of the last span began at 11am and the engineers completed the work in 15 minutes.
"The completion of the viaduct installation is an important milestone for the metro rail project. This achievement will play an important role in meeting the target of launching the Uttara to Agargaon portion of the metro rail by December this year. It has also paved the way to launching the metro rail fully, from Uttara to Motijheel, by December next year," said Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) Managing Director MAN Siddique, at a virtual press briefing marking the achievement.
He said, "The biggest challenge at the moment is to move the metro rail work forward by tackling the spread of Omicron variant of coronavirus. During the previous waves of the ongoing pandemic, we succeeded maintaining the momentum of project implementation. Hopefully, we will be able to carry on the construction of the metro rail will facing the challenge of the pandemic."
"Around 74% work of the project has been completed. Construction of the Uttara-Agargaon portion has been completed by 90% while 73% work of Agargaon-Motijheel portion has been finished," he added.
According to sources, with an aim to build an effective transport system free of traffic congestion in the capital, the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project (MRT Line-6) was approved in 2012. The project is being implemented with financial and technical assistance from Japan under the Strategic Transport Plan (STP).
Under the project, 20.10km metro rail will be constructed from Diabari area under Uttara Sector-3 to Motijheel by 2024. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina instructed to expand the rail line from Motijheel to Kamalapur. As a result, the length of the line will be 21.60 kilometers.
At the press briefing, the DMTCL MD said due to this expansion of the rail line to Kamalapur and the addition of some new features, the total cost of the ongoing Tk22,000 crore project will increase by Tk8,000 crore.
In reply to a query from reporters, MAN Siddique said some new features are being added to the existing infrastructure to ensure that passengers could travel in comfort. There will be separate staircases to enter and exit the station. At some places, the sidewalk is being expanded.
He said the roads are not equally wide everywhere. At some places new land has to be acquired as there is no government land available.
The ancillary works will be completed before the launch of the metro rail. However, the construction of Station Plaza and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) hub will take time, he added.
Once the survey of metro rail started at field level, suffering of the people living or doing businesses in the project areas including Agargaon, Taltala, Shewrapara, Mirpur, Farmgate, Karwanbazar, Banglamotor and Shahbag also started.
Sound and air pollutions multiplied once the construction work began, in addition to the reduced trading of business organisations beside the main road. However, with the completion of the construction, the suffering of the people is also decreasing. They are now hoping for a bright future.
Once operational, the metro rail will be able to transport 60,000 people per hour and reduce travel time from Uttara to Motijheel from about two hours to only 40 minutes.