Ring road around jammed Dhaka hits roadblocks

Japanese investor goes cold

| Updated: February 26, 2023 08:53:44

Ring road around jammed Dhaka hits roadblocks

Planned outer ring road surrounding the crammed Dhaka city hits roadblocks as the project's part-financier Japanese investor goes cold, sources said, while the capital smarts under nagging traffic jam.

The sources said Marubeni Corporation of Japan rather showed interest in constructing very small part of the 50-kilometre ring road which the Roads Transport and Highways Division does not find viable under the PPP model.

Marubeni was selected as a potential investor during a Japan-Bangladesh Joint Platform meeting to build the outer ring road under government-to-government PPP modality.

The RTHD authorities recently held a meeting with the company to discuss the matter. Sources said the company-proposed 18-kilometre stretch from Kalakandi to 3rd Shitalakhya bridge is located in the middle of the southern part of the outer ring road and financing two other parts is still not confirmed under the PPP model.

Officials said the entire southern part is stretched from Hemayetpur-Kalakandi-Muktarpur bridge approach, Saidpur and Modonpur and earlier it was planned as a government-to-government (G2G) undertaking.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges has made the move to construct the outer ring road as part of the recommendations in the revised Strategic Transport Plan (RSTP) proposal which was approved in 2016.

Though the 20-year plan proposed to develop inner, middle and outer ring road to help reduce the traffic gridlock through accelerating the process of decentralization and shifting of businesses to the city outskirts, none of the projects has seen its light in last six years.

A project was taken in 2020 to conduct feasibility study on Dhaka outer ring road eastern, western and northern parts. Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has been taken the southern part of the road. However, some overlapping has been found in the planning of the ring roads as other agencies, including Bangladesh Bridge Authority, also plan to develop expressway on the same corridor.

Sources said of the entire 50km southern part of the circular road, the meeting proposed constructing the 3rd part immediately with government's own funds as its traffic is likely to be worse due to the link with two important high ways: Dhaka-Chattograma and Dhaka-Sylhet highways.

"PPP modality is very time-consuming. That's why the part from 3rd Shitalakhya bridge to Madanpur-12 stretching 12 kms must be constructed without delay," says an official.

He, however, mentioned that the last meeting chaired by the RTHD Secretary decided to construct the third part under the GoB and look for other two parts either G2G PPP or JICA's ODA finance or combination of both

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