Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday laid the foundation stone for the country’s first-ever Metro rail project.

The ceremony took place at Gazipur on the outskirts of capital Dhaka on Thursday evening, Xinhua reported.

In February this year, Bangladesh signed a loan deal with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to finance the 20.1-km Metro rail service project scheduled to be implemented in three phases by 2022.

Of the total cost of 220 billion taka (around $2.8 billion), JICA, a governmental agency of Japan, will provide about 165 billion taka, while the Bangladesh Government will provide the rest.

In the first phase, 11 km would be completed by 2019, 4.4 km more by 2020, and the remaining 4.7 km by 2022.

Bangladesh’s first Metro rail is expected to transport 60,000 passengers an hour. It can also help the Bangladesh Government’s efforts to ease traffic gridlock in Dhaka, which has only 436 km of four-lane roads and 1,408 km of two-lane roads.

It is apprehended that traffic jams would worsen in the future if steps are not taken immediately to ease the situation.