According to sources at the Bangabandhu Bridge toll plaza, on normal days 12,000 to 13,000 vehicles cross the bridge in a day, but many times more vehicles have been crossing over the past few days. In the 24 hours from 6:00 Monday morning till 6:00 Tuesday morning, 48,423 vehicles have crossed Bangabandhu Bridge.
The increased number of vehicles caused the traffic jam to start from late last night. The jam began in the western end of the bridge (the Sirajganj side) and later extended back to the eastern end (the Tangail side). Till the morning, the jam stretched back up till Tarutia in Tangail sadar upazila.
A visit to the highway Tuesday morning saw vehicles stretched out for 30km along the northward bound lane of the highway. The vehicles had to stand for long in one place then inch along.
Truck driver Mohor Ali of Tarutia in the sadar upazila said he had been in one place for over half an hour. It had taken him 40 minutes to cover just 2km. Alongside buses, minibuses and cars, the lower income and working class people were travelling home by trucks and pickup vans. And with rain falling since the morning, their sufferings had multiplied.
Travelling by truck from Gazipur to Bogura, passenger Sobhan Sheikh said he worked for a garment factory. He was travelling by truck because it was cheaper. But he was suffering in the rain and the traffic jam.
Passengers, particularly the female passengers, were suffering badly in the traffic stuck up at Rasulpur and Pabna of the sadar upazila as well as Pouli and Elenga of Kalihati upazila. They were seen going to people’s houses by the highway to use the toilet.
Habibur Rahman, a microbus passenger going to Rajshahi from Dhaka, was in the jam at the Elenga CNG station. He said they suffer the same way when going home every Eid. It took over two hours just to cross the 10km from the Tangail bypass to Elenga. In the same spot, passenger Humayun Rashid in a Bogura-bound bus said people fall sick having to sit for hours in the traffic jam. It ruins the joy of Eid.
According to the police, over 600 district police and over 200 highway police had been deployed to tackle the traffic congestion.