The government on Friday started collecting tolls from vehicles plying on the Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga expressway, formally named Jatir Pita Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Highway.
The 55km-long Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga Expressway on Friday morning witnessed slowdown of traffic on the first day of toll collection as all the booths of the toll plaza could not be opened. However, The speed of toll collection increased from 11am after three more booths were opened, which reduced traffic congestion.
Following the toll collection by four out of 10 booths, a long traffic jam was created in Bhanga of Faridpur, causing immense suffering to drivers and passengers.
Abu Hossain Zakaria, in-charge (administration) of the toll plaza, said that the traffic pressure has reduced with the opening of three new booths.
Authorities said it is not possible to collect toll from the remaining three booths out of the total 10 as those are under-construction. Meanwhile, Korean Expressway Corporation started collecting toll from vehicles on the Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga expressway from midnight.
An official said that the number of vehicles on the highway near the toll plaza of the expressway has increased due to the weekly holidays and the opening of the Padma Bridge. Earlier, an average of five to six thousand vehicles used to run on this road every day, now 20 to 30 thousand vehicles run on this road. So many cars are waiting in front of the toll plaza. However, in a few days, the pressure of the car may be reduced.
The toll rate for the Expressway ranges from Tk30 to Tk1,690, according to a circular issued by the Road Transport and Bridges Ministry on June 29.
According to the circular, a trailer will have to pay Tk 1,690, a heavy truck Tk 1,100, a medium size truck Tk 550 and a mini truck Tk 415 as toll to cross the expressway.
A microbus and minibus will have to pay Tk 275 and Tk 220 respectively while four-wheel-drive vehicles, sedan car and motorcycles will have to pay Tk 220, Tk 140 and Tk 30 in that order.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in March 2020 inaugurated the four-lane expressway built at a cost of Tk11,003 crore. The government did not charge a toll for it so far.
RTHD under the road transport and bridges ministry on February 7, 2021, fixed Tk 10 as the base toll for using each kilometre of the expressway. But officials indicated that the toll rate would be higher in the new circular.
The four-lane Dhaka–Mawa–Bhanga expressway is divided into two sections — one section from the Jatrabari crossing to Mawa via Ekuria and Babubazar and the other from Pachchor to Bhanga.
Excluding the 23-km length of the Padma Bridge with the approach roads on the two sides, the expressway runs for 35 kilometres on the Dhaka–Mawa stretch and 20 kilometres on the Pachchor–Bhanga stretch.
The base toll rate includes the charges for using the three bridges on the expressway — the China-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge known as the Buriganga Bridge, the Dhaleshwari Bridge and the Arial Khan Bridge.