Construction of Dhaka MRT Line 1 to start in December

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CONSTRUCTION on the 31.24km MRT Line 1 in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s first underground metro line, is set to begin in December after a two-year delay.

On October 23, the metro line project implementation agency, Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Company (DMTCL), signed a contract with a Japanese joint venture led by Nippon Koei for project construction supervision services. The consortium also includes Oriental Consultants Global, Systra, Delhi Metro Rail, Nippon Koei India, Katahira and Engineers International, Development Design Consultants and Nippon Koei Bangladesh.

Work on the Taka 525.6 billion (US$5.2 billion) project, considered the largest infrastructure project in the transport sector in Bangladesh, will begin with land development for a depot at Pitalganj in Narayanganj.

The project will consist of a main underground section of 19.87 km from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Kamalapur and 11.36 km from Notunbazar to Purbachal Terminal which will be mostly elevated and expected to be completed in December 2026.

When completed, MRT-1 is expected to carry 800,000 passengers per day. There will be 12 stations on the Airport to Kamalapur section, with trains running at 2.5 minute intervals, and nine stations on the Notumbazar branch at Purbachal Terminal, with trains at 4.35 minute intervals .

There will be underground interchange stations between Notunbazar and Nadda sections. The Government of Bangladesh will provide 131.1 billion taka for the project while the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) will provide 394.5 billion taka as a soft loan after the signing of the loan agreement in July.

DMTCL Managing Director Mr. MAN Siddique and Nippon Koei Bangladesh Managing Director Mr. Naoki Kudo signed the agreement on October 23. Japan’s Ambassador to Bangladesh, Mr. Ito Naoki, was also present and said the contract signing ceremony was “an important milestone for Bangladesh’s infrastructure development”.

Tunneling will begin at the airport, Kuril, Notumbazar and Kamalapur, but DMTCL says the inconvenience to the public, mainly around the station sites, “will not last more than three to six months” as most of the work will be underground.

On September 7, DMTCL appointed a Japanese-led joint venture to develop the MRT-1 depot. The contract with the hitherto anonymous company should be signed in mid-November, with construction starting in early December.

Phase 1 of Bangladesh’s first-ever metro line, MRT-6, is also set to open in December from Uttara to Agargaon. This elevated line will eventually extend from Agargaon to Motijheel, a total length of 20.1 km.

The government has the ambition to build six metro lines in the capital and its surroundings with the aim of creating a network of around 130 km and thus making traffic more fluid and reducing pollution.

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