ADB Approves $33 Million Loan to Design Project for Dhaka MRT Line 5

News Release | 27 November 2019

DHAKA, BANGLADESH (27 November 2019) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a concessional loan of $33.26 million for a project to design the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line 5 (Southern Route) that will help ease the traffic and pollution burden in the overcrowded Bangladeshi capital.

Dhaka plays a significant role as an industrial and commercial sector in Bangladesh’s booming economy, which has grown at an average rate of 6.5% since 2005. Despite its fast-growing population and corresponding traffic demand, Dhaka lacks a mass transit network and relies heavily on road transport, which accounts for 15 million daily trips in the area. Traffic volume exceeds road capacity by 20% on average during peak hours and by more than 100% on particular stretches in central areas. This causes economic loss and lowers the city's livability.

“A high quality and high capacity public transport system requires huge financial resources and operational management capacity,” said ADB Principal Transport Specialist for South Asia Mr. Kanzo Nakai. “ADB is one of the development partners responding to government requests for assistance in preparing and operationalizing the crucially important MRT system.”

The project readiness financing will carry out detailed feasibility studies, engineering design, and procurement documentation in preparation for the 17.4-kilometer (km) line, which will be constructed between Gabtoli and Dasherkandi Stations in Dhaka.

The project will also design measures for climate and natural disaster resilience, and integrate features for women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities into the design. The design will also include advanced technology such as automated ticketing and a fare collection system with an integrated database for operations management.

The actual Line 5 project is estimated to cost about $2.5 billion and will be considered for subsequent ADB financing.

Line 5 is one of three high-priority lines in the capital planned for completion by 2030. The planned MRT Line 5 will serve as one of the city’s few east–west corridors and provide connections with other MRT and bus rapid transit lines going north–south. Construction would require almost 13 km underground with 12 stations, while the remaining section will be elevated with 4 stations.

The Government of Bangladesh is contributing $11.32 million toward the total cost of the project readiness financing of $44.58 million, which is due for completion at the end of 2023.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.