Rough ride home

Holidaymakers brace for tailbacks at certain points on battered highways

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The journey home during the Eid and Puja holidays is likely to be rough and long, as a large number of highways are riddled with potholes while many others are too narrow to cope with the huge rush.
Then there is the long delay at ferry terminals.
Many regional and district roads are in bad shape as well and will cause sufferings on the way once the rush of holidaymakers begins today.
Most roads are narrow. Besides, roadside shops, bazaars and cattle markets and illegal vehicles like nasimon, karimon and easy-bikes will add to the woes. Rain could worsen the situation even more.
The authorities have planned for a smooth journey on the Paturia-Daulatdia and Mawa-Kawrakandi ferry routes, but handling the heavy traffic of passenger buses and cattle-carrying trucks remains a big challenge.
Thirteen ferries will ply each route during the Eid holidays.
To ease people’s sufferings, the authorities have decided to ban all vehicles, except for passenger vehicles, cattle-laden trucks and trucks with perishable items, from using the ferries on October 13-15 and 17-19.
“We will deploy a mobile court and set up a control room to maintain order at Paturia and Daulatdia ferry terminals,” Masud Karim, deputy commissioner of Manikganj, told our district correspondent.
Sirajul Islam, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority manager (commerce) at Mawa, said 13 ferries could carry 1,700-1,800 vehicles every day. “The number of vehicles rises up to 4,000 a day from a few days before Eid. We will engage four more ferries to handle the extra pressure.”
The condition of Dhaka-Chittagong highway is the worst, partly because it is rather narrow and partly because of its expansion work-related hazards. Potholes, waterlogging and dumping of dirt along the highway will make the journey even more difficult.
The highway is known as the economic lifeline of the country, but that does not prevent long tailbacks from slowing down movement on it. A single accident can create a jam several kilometres long on both sides. A six-hour journey sometimes takes more than 14 hours.

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Night time highway robbery rises alarmingly during Eid holidays, thanks to slackened patrol by law enforcement agencies. Hijacking of cattle-carrying trucks, too, becomes almost a daily matter.
Contacted, Asiquzzaman Akhter, additional superintendent of highway police, said police patrol would be increased to check such menace on the highway.
Potholes are a problem on Dhaka-Mymensingh and Dhaka-Sylhet highways as well. Dhaka-Rajshahi and Dhaka-Rangpur highways, however, are in better condition, according to the Roads and Highways Department.
The department, under the communications ministry, looks after 21,481 kilometres of roads across the country.
“Potholes develop regularly on these highways, but we try to repair them quickly,” said a senior RHD official, adding, “But the problem is we can’t repair the damaged roads when it rains.”
Saleh Md Tanveer, superintendent of police in Tangail, said he had requested RHD officials to immediately repair even the small potholes at some places on the Dhaka-Tangail highway, which often sees long tailbacks.
“We will deploy additional police teams to ease traffic movement on this road,” he added.
Although roads under Rangpur and Rajshahi divisions are in fairly good shape, the picture in Barisal, Khulna and Jessore is just the opposite, sources said.
Rajshahi bypass road and about one-kilometre stretch of a road in Puthia upazila are in bad shape while repair on Rajshahi-Chapainawabganj highway is nearly complete, reports our Rajshahi correspondent.
A four km stretch of Kushtia-Bheramara road has been in dilapidated condition for two years. The RHD executive engineer in Kushtia blames fund crunch, but locals say RHD officials’ negligence and misappropriation of funds are to blame for this.
A quarter of the Jessore-Khulna highway is in also bad shape. Potholes have developed at Noapara Bazar, Bashundia and Rupdia points. Several kilometres of the 60km Khulna-Satkhira road is also riddled with potholes and cracks.
Dhaka-Mawa road is in rather good condition, but 55km of the Mostaphapur-Barisal road is in poor shape.
Barisal-Patharghata, Barisal-Pirojpur-Khulna and Barisal-Mirzaganj roads are in poor condition and they have not been repaired in years.
There are no potholes on the Dhaka-Paturia highway and engineers were giving the final touches to their repair work on Chandra-Elenga road, which is very narrow and often experiences congestion, RHD officials told The Daily Star a few days ago.
Survey records at the RHD show that the condition of major roads and highways improved in the past few years, but many inter-district and upazila roads are still in poor shape.

Source: The Daily Star

1 COMMENT

  1. No govt either past or present had/has any vision and obviously planning of what might this country with only 144,000 sqkm area (more than one third of which is either water bodies or forests) and a population of over 150 million strong must need by years. In this country, the railway communication was, is and shall be extremely necessary besides the water transport communication, which is most unfortunately shrinking by years. But all the previous govts overlooked or ignored that or indifferent to that. Now every year the harassment and trouble people are put in, especially at the times of religious festivals, is and surely would be increasing proportionate to the increase of population. The only alternative is the expansion of our railway network across the country. How essential it is, is evident from the scene at the Kamalapur Railway Station, for example. The sooner the govt realizes it the better for the common people. We are surprised to observe how myopic and imprudent our policy and decision makers are. They are not able to understand the importance of transport and communication in the development process of the country. By expanding only road communication, they have burdened the people with more taxes and other expenditure of daily life, thereby increasing the trouble and hardship of us common people.

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