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Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway

Delays, design setbacks upset stakeholders, people

Published : 27 May 2023 02:10 AM | Updated : 27 May 2023 02:13 AM

The much-anticipated Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway project, which is slated to be completed by 2026, has experienced considerable setbacks and delays, raising concerns among stakeholders and the public. 

Despite Chinese loan approvals, government fund release, and the project's official inauguration last November, there has been little progress made in recent months, casting doubt on the project's timely completion.

Initiated in October 2017 with an initial completion deadline of June 2022, the 24 km expressway faced a four-year extension. Although construction work officially began in November last year, the project's design has not yet been completed, further impeding progress. Recently a letter was sent to the contractor, seeking an explanation for the prolonged delay in designing the expressway.

Sources reveal that the government had approved the Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway project in October 2017, envisioning its completion by the end of June 2022. However, the subsequent four-year extension period failed to yield any substantial progress. 

In September 2022, Bangladesh government disbursed the first installment of USD 32.4 million to the Chinese contractor CMC, representing 15 percent of the project cost. The remaining 85 percent, totaling USD170.5 million, was paid by the Chinese government in October of the same year.

Resolving complexities within the loan agreement, the contracting firm jointly appointed Tecnica y Projects of Spain, DOHWA of South Korea, and DDC of Bangladesh as consultants for the project’s design review and supervision. 

However, a letter from the supervisory company, Typsa, addressed to CMC on April 13, 2023, stated that the contractor had yet to initiate most of the construction works.

Concerns have been raised by stakeholders regarding the project’s slow pace, anticipating increased costs due to the prolonged timeline. Some stakeholders attribute the delays to currency devaluation by the Bangladesh government, while others emphasize the need for the government to closely monitor CMC to ensure the fulfillment of its commitments. 

As a government-to-government (G2G) project between China and Bangladesh, it is vital for relevant authorities to establish strict timelines from the beginning and avoid being manipulated by CMC officials.

While this correspondent repeatedly tried to contact the project director, Shahabuddin Khan regarding the status of the project, he remained unreachable.