Sources at the Bangabandhu Bridge toll plaza said that at normal times, around 12,000 to 13,000 vehicles cross the bridge per day. But in the 24 hours from 6:00am Friday till 6:00am Saturday, 33,912 vehicles had crossed the bridge. The traffic has increased even further since Saturday morning.
Due to the extra load of vehicles, the traffic jam around the western end of Bangabandhu Bridge at Sirajganj began worsening from late night. It gradually stretched out till the eastern end of the bridge.
As a result, toll collection was halted thrice from the night till Saturday morning. The traffic congestion stretched back all the way to the Tangail bypass.
A visit to the area on Saturday morning saw the northwards bound vehicles stretching out from the Tangail bypass to the eastern end of Bangabandhu Bridge.
The commuters were stuck in one place for long stretches of time. After moving along slowly, the vehicles were coming to a halt again.
Truck driver Sobhan Mia at Rasulpur of Tangail sadar said it had taken him almost an hour just to drive 5km from the bypass as Ashekpur to Rasulpur.
Jahangir Hossain, at the Elenga CNG station area of Kalihati upazila, said he was travelling by his own car to Rajshahi. Normally it would take under three hours from Dhaka to Elenga, but on Saturday it has taken him seven hours.
Stuck in the tailback, the passengers are suffering. Bogura-bound bus passenger Delwar Hossain said they can’t even move for a kilometer without stopping. They have to stop intermittently along the way. The commuters are suffering for hours on the highway in the heat.
Over 600 members of the district police have been deployed along the highway in Tangail to deal with the traffic. The highway police are also on duty. Tangail deputy commissioner Md Ataul Ghani and superintendent of police Sanjit Kumar Roy inspected the area in the afternoon.