The government is set to give Korean Expressway Corporation the responsibility to collect toll from vehicles on the Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga expressway.
The South Korean company has already been assigned to collect toll on the Padma Bridge.
Apart from toll collection, the company would be appointed to operate an intelligent transport system (ITS) and the operation and maintenance of the country’s first ever expressway.
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday gave approval in principle to a proposal in this regard.
No date was fixed to start toll collection on the 55km expressway. However, it may start when the Padma Bridge is open to public next year, officials said.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, who presided over the virtual meeting, briefed reporters about the development.
The company, which will use an automatic toll collection system, will give a detailed proposal, including the financial aspects, for approval by the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP).
The Road Transport and Highways Division has set a toll rate for the expressway but the rate for the Padma Bridge has not yet been finalised.The CCEA in August last year approved a proposal to appoint KEC for maintenance and toll collection once construction of the Padma Bridge is complete.
Under the approved proposal, KEC was supposed to be appointed for the work following direct procurement method under a government-to-government arrangement.
Shamsul Arefin, additional secretary of the cabinet division, said the company collects tolls and maintains 4,112km of expressway and 1,329km of bridges in South Korea.
TOLL FOR EXPRESSWAY
The finance ministry in April this year approved a toll rate — Tk 10 per km as base fare — proposed by the Road Transport and Highways Division for the expressway.
As per the rate, a medium-sized truck would have to pay Tk 550 to use the 55km expressway, on top of the toll to use the Padma Bridge.
The toll for a bus would be Tk 495 and for a car Tk 138, as per the toll rate.
The division wanted to start collecting tolls from vehicles using the expressway from July this year, but later stepped back from the decision as the necessary structures were not ready.
Currently, tolls are collected by Roads and Highways Department for use of three bridges on the route. Once the Korean firm starts collecting tolls for the entire expressway, the current toll collection will be discontinued.
Contacted, RHD’s Chief Engineer Abdus Sabur said terms of reference will be shared with the Korean firm which will then give financial and other proposals.
After negotiations, the proposal would be placed before the CCGP, he said, adding that the process is expected to be completed within three months.
Replying to a question, he said the Korean company has given a tentative estimate of Tk 425 crore for five years’ service, but that is not final.
He said for the first time in the country, intelligent transport system (ITS) would be installed on the expressway under a separate project funded by Korea.
Once the technology is installed, the KEC will operate those, he added.
Using ITS, authorities will be able to learn news of any accident or other incidents on the road immediately. It will allow the authorities to take quick action to prevent traffic disruption, an RHD official said.
However, the project for installing ITS is still at a preliminary level, another RHD official said.
Meanwhile, CCGP yesterday approved eight proposals involving several projects.
According to a proposal, National Development Engineers Ltd will construct Road Research and Training Centre of RHD and maintain it for three years at a cost of Tk 251.6 crore.
The centre will be established under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Project 2 of RHD.