Munima Sultana: The Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) approved a flyover project of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) defying its own city transport plan that is supposed to be followed over the next 20 years.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader announced the approval during the 7th board meeting of the DTCA.
The announcement of approval was made at the end of the meeting despite majority members attending it being against construction of the Rajuk flyover, planned from the Jhilmil project to Shantinagar.
DTCA okays Rajuk flyover project defying its own city transport plan
Sources said DTCA members, consultants and transport owners showed the grounds that the flyover would be damaging for the city because of its taking away major parts of the existing roads as the area has already lost the road space following construction of Mayor Hanif flyover and Babubazar flyover.
Tamaoki Watanabe, team leader of the DTCA study team working on the Revised Strategic Transport Plan (RSTP), shared his observation during the meeting that any on-and-off flyover within the city would deteriorate traffic situation.
He proposed to divert the route of the flyover towards Dhaka Elevated Expressway through Postogola.
The Rajuk has taken up the 13-kilometre flyover project under public-private partnership from its Jhilmil project to Shantinagar crossing through Babubazar bridge aiming at facilitating traffic of the Dhaka-Mawa highway which is likely to increase manifold after the construction of the Padma Bridge.
But the flyover, according to the traffic experts, would eat up major portion of the existing roads and conflict with the under-implementation mass rapid transit line-6 at Paltan crossing.
It will also conflict with Malibagh-Mouchak flyover at Shantinagar where only 200 metres gap will remain between ramps of the two flyovers. Because of the Babubazar bridge, the height of the proposed Rajuk flyover would be equal to a seven-storey building.
Although the Rajuk wanted to incorporate its flyover in the RSTP, the Japanese study team proposed that the Rajuk should divert the flyover from the congested Babubazar area towards Postogola to be connected with Dhaka Elevated Expressway at Kamalapur railway station.
DTCA officials said construction of three ring roads has been proposed in the RSTP one of which is to carry increasing traffic of the Padma Bridge from the Dhaka-Mawa highway.
When his attention was drawn to the approval, traffic expert Prof Shamsul Hoque said this kind of decision will damage functionality of the 20-year plan.
He said the revision of the STP has been necessary after effectiveness of the original STP had been damaged for taking this kind of flyovers in the city during the last few years.
“Defying the STP before its approval will be damaging as it will spoil all the possibilities of mass transport system within the city and the Dhaka city’s livability character will be lost,” Mr Hoque, professor of the Civil Engineering Department of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, told the FE over phone.
The DTCA appointed the Japanese team to revise the STP last year as many unwanted structures were already constructed beyond the original 20 years long plan. The final draft of RSTP is about to get approval from the cabinet in December.
Since the Rajuk flyover project was not included in the RSTP, a reliable source said, effort was on to approve the controversial project during the DTCA board meeting as it has power to approve any project of any agency which is not included in the 20 years plan.
The DTCA board is dominated by politicians including members of parliament, ward councillors, city corporation mayors and representatives of different associations of transport owners and workers. There is no technical expert from the BUET in it.
The 7th DTCA board meeting was attended, among others, by secretaries of Road Transport and Highways division and Bridges Division, Director General of Bangladesh Railway and Executive Director of the DTCA.
Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokan, transport leaders Enayet Khandaker and Faruk Talukder Sohel and labour leader Osman Ali were also present.