Bangladesh is to witness opening of its first smart highway on Dhaka-Mawa Expressway in December 2023 while the second one is expected to be commissioned in December next year, connecting Joydebpur with Rangpur, primarily aiming to ensure road safety, officials said yesterday.
Roads and Highways Department (RHD) officials said both the highways were being built introducing the ‘Intelligent Transport System (ITS) which incorporates vehicle detection system, surveillance camera, automated number plate recognition camera, speed detection mechanism and variable messaging sign.
RHD’s superintending engineer M. Tanvir Siddique said the 38-kilometre Dhaka-Mawa Expressway would be the first smart highway where the ITS would be fully installed in December this year as a pilot project.
Siddique, the project director of the Dhaka-Mawa Expressway, said the project is being implemented with South Korea’s KOICA assistance as part of a Taka 126 crore plan.
According to the RHD officials, works were underway to introduce the technology on the 250-kilometer Joydebpur-Rangpur highway in December 2024 with Asian Development Bank (ADB) assistance involv-ing US$15 million.
They said the government brought the technology to detect vehicles exceeding speed and weight limits as part of road safety measures and expose violators to appropriate actions and allow authorities to escalate highway surveillance keeping pace with developed countries.
The Joydebpur-Rangpur smart highway is part of a regional highway construction project under the aus-pices of South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) to be regarded as a SASEC corridor.
SASEC is grouping of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
Bangladeshi infrastructure firm National Development Engineers (NDE) and Chinese firm Fiber Home Telecommunication Technologies Co Ltd are entrusted with the task of implementing Joydebpur-Rangpur smart highway while Bangladeshi IT firm National Tech was given the contract for the Dhaka-Mawa Expressway respectively under deals with RHD.
“We have placed the orders for the imported hardware and equipment and we hope to complete the work (on Joydebpur-Rangpur highway) by December 2024,” said Riyad SA Husain, managing director of NDE Infratech, an enterprise of the NDE.
He said a central Traffic Management Centre (TMC) would be set up at Paikpara in the city’s Mirpur area while the centre would have three regional TMCs at Pakulla in Tangail, Mokamtola in Bogura, and Islampur in Rangpur.
The centers would monitor the entire highway through the ITS system, Riyad said.
The official said the ITS would have a ‘Vehicle Detective System (VDS)’ to detect accidents and other obstacles for quick and appropriate actions.
Surveillance cameras along the highway would allow the TMC personnel to monitor the highway round the clock while Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Cameras will help them identify the ve-hicles violating the traffic rules or exceeding load and speed limits, he added.