BRT construction work resumes | The star of the day

Construction work on the Bus Rapid Transit Line-3 project resumed yesterday, after a beam segment fell on a car on August 15, killing five people, prompting authorities to suspend work.

Work resumed after the consultants approved the safety measures adopted for the Uttara site.

Physical works at the other sites will resume once the contractor has provided the security plans and obtained those approved by the consultants, they added.

However, experts said questions remained over whether the project authorities would be able to complete construction according to plan by March next year.

The development came a week after a government committee held Chinese contractor, China Gezhouba Group Co Ltd, liable for negligence that left five people dead, including two children.

The victims were crushed when a crane overturned, dropping a box girder segment onto their car on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway in the capital Uttara.

Project authorities suspended construction work a day after the incident following a meeting with officials from the Asian Development Bank, one of the main backers of the long-delayed project.

Another Chinese contractor has also been tasked with ensuring rock-solid security at the sites before resuming work.

“They [Gezhouba] gave a security plan and took the necessary security measures. Our consultants approved them after visiting the site several times,” said Shafiqul Islam, Managing Director of Dhaka BRT Company Ltd, one of the implementing agencies for the project.

BRT Line-3 is a Tk 4,268.38 crore project to construct a 20.50 km dedicated route for bus services from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Gazipur. It was originally expected to be completed at a cost of Tk 2,037.85 crore by December 2016.

The deadline was later extended to June of this year, but by then the project had progressed by 78%. Another deadline was then set for December of this year.

But those responsible for the project have again asked for a one-year extension. The proposal is currently pending with the Planning Commission.

According to the latest new plan from Roads and Highways Department (RHD) and Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA), the physical works will be done by March next year.

The RHD is working on a 16 km section of the road while the BBA is constructing a 4.5 km elevated section of the road.

According to a project document, if RHD and BBA are to complete the works by next March, the average monthly construction progress should be 2.23% and 3.60% respectively.

But the average monthly advance of RHD and BBA was only 1.56 and 1.40% since August last year, the records show.

Asked if the job will be done on time, Shafiqul Islam said he hoped the pace could be picked up due to the newly established discipline. “We are confident of achieving the goal.”

THE TAKEN PROCEDURES

Revealing an investigation report into the August 15 tragedy, ABM Amin Ullah Nuri, Secretary of Road Transport and Highways Division, said on September 4 that RHD would take action in accordance with the findings.

Contacted, RHD AKM Chief Engineer Manir Hossain Pathan said yesterday that the contractor was already facing measures. “We made an insurance claim [for the deaths] and issued a notice of correction to the contractor.”

Asked what was done after the inquiry committee submitted the report, he did not give a direct answer.

“The actions taken so far are consistent with the findings of the Inquiry Committee.”

Maria D. Ervin