A China-led consortium is set to construct Dhaka Bypass as the country's first toll expressway with high-tech road facilities under public-private partnership (PPP) initiative.
Roads and Highways Department (RHD) signed a concessionaire agreement in this regard with the consortium of Sichuan Road Bridge Group (SRBG) Corporation of China, Shamim Enterprise Pvt Ltd and UDC Construction Limited of Bangladesh at a programme on Thursday.
RHD Chief Engineer Ebne Alam Hasan, Zhao Fang of SRBG, Aminul Haque of Shamim Enterprise, and Md Kalam Hossain of UDC signed the 25-year contract on behalf of respective sides.
Principal Secretary to Prime Minister (PM) Md Nojibur Rahman attended the ceremony as the chief guest.
Principal Coordinator for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Affairs in Prime Minister's Office Abul Kalam Azad was the special guest.
Among others, Secretary of Road Transport and Highways Division Nazrul Islam, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PPP Authority Syed Afsor H Uddin were also present.
Nojibur Rahman highlighted the importance of a smooth and safe road network for the country's economic growth.
He hoped that Dhaka Bypass will facilitate speedy traffic movement in line with the country's economic development.
The PM's secretary also said Dhaka Bypass is important, as the major portion of freight traffic of North Bengal districts uses the corridor to connect with Chittagong Port.
The CEO of PPP Authority termed Dhaka Bypass as the country's first toll expressway, which has been planned following conceptual features of access control highways.
He also said Dhaka Bypass is the first-ever real-time PPP project that has followed the PPP guideline, including in design and selection of concessionaire. It is RHD's first PPP project that has reached investment stage.
According to official information, SRBG consortium has been selected as the private partner of Dhaka Bypass project, which has offered to build the 48-kilometre road at a cost of Tk 30.39 billion.
The amount is, however, Tk 2.24 billion higher than the project's estimated cost. The government's investment for the project will be Tk 2.23 billion.
Dhaka Bypass will have four-lane toll access control road with median divider and 2.4-metre wide emergency lane for breakdown vehicles.
Besides, it will have four interchanges at suitable locations, entry/exit facilities with toll plazas at five locations, two rail over-bridge and service roads having connectivity with locality for all modes of vehicles.
It will also include high-tech monitoring system, key performance indicator and viable message signs to provide real-time information to road users and ensure safety during journey.
Vehicles, mostly of the industrial belts of greater Mymensingh and 16 northern districts, will use it to connect with Chittagong in connection with national highways 1, 2 and 3.
RHD undertook the project in 2013 to build the road through Joydebpur, Debgram, Bhulta and Modonpur. RHD conducted a feasibility study under PPP Authority in 2015, projecting the project cost at Tk 28.15 billion.
Four shortlisted companies responded to its request for proposal, which closed on September 28, 2017.
A RHD official said the consortium will enjoy 25-year concessionaire period, including three years for construction, which will start after end of nine-month condition precedent.
He also said Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has provided security for it. Ninety per cent of the funds may come from China and 10 per cent from local banks.