Over one crore people are likely to leave Dhaka ahead of this year’s Eid-ul-Fitr as there is no restriction on movement after two years of the pandemic.
However, it is being feared that the homebound people might face immense sufferings during their journey than usual due to the ongoing development and repair work on major highways.
Construction work of four lanes on the Dhaka-Aricha highway from Aminbazar in Savar to Kalampur in Dhamrai is underway. In some places, 70 percent of the work has been completed but in many places, the progress is below 50 percent.
The four-lane renovation work in Daudkandi section of the Dhaka-Chattogram highway in Cumilla has increased the traffic jam to a great extent in the two-three-kilometer area.
The commuters of the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway also suffer on a regular basis due to the ongoing repair work on the dilapidated road. A 12-km tailback on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway from Kanchpur to Bhulta in Sonargaon has become a daily occurrence.
Prof Md Hadiuzzaman, Director of Accident Research Institute (ARI) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) told the Bangladesh Post that this year’s Eid journey can turn into a nightmare due to various reasons, including the ongoing development work of highways and a greater number of people leaving the capital.
He pointed out that some important ways to prevent the sufferings of the Eid rush on roads.
“The four-lane Dhaka-Tangail-Rangpur highway that becomes two-way before Elenga creates a bottleneck and increases traffic congestion. The vehicles leaving Dhaka and the vehicles returning to Dhaka should be diverted to alternative one-way routes from Elenga to the Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge,” he went on saying.
He also said that the development work of Dhaka-Mymensingh road have to be suspended for a few days to ease the traffic jam.
“Heavy and light vehicles should be diverted to different routes from Joydebpur intersection. Although three-wheelers and other slow moving vehicles are banned on highways, they often ply on highways violating the rules. The movement of these vehicles on highways should be strictly monitored, especially on Hatikumrul highway,” he added.
Md Hadiuzzaman said that operation of Narayanganj’s launch terminals have remained suspended since March due to navigability crises.
“Therefore, a large number of people, especially, the readymade garment workers would have to move through Dhaka which would further increase the congestion,” he said.
He suggested keeping the terminals open 24 hours and increasing the number of launches and ferries while ensuring the vehicles' fitness.
While talking to Bangladesh Post, AKM Manir Hossain Pathan, Chief Engineer of Roads and Highways Department said the construction work that could obstruct the movement of traffic during the Eid rush would be stopped for a few days.
“Necessary preparations have been taken to ease the traffic congestion on roads. Many roads have been widened to make traffic movement smoother. However, during Eid the number of vehicles exceeds the capacity of roads. Gorai Flyover in Tangail and Nalka Bridge in Sirajganj will be opened to traffic today (Monday). Hopefully, the sufferings of people will be reduced,” he said.