Four times more vehicles than normal on Bangabandhu Bridge

North-bound traffic on Friday afternoon jams the highway at Elenga while Dhaka-bound traffic remains sparse
North-bound traffic on Friday afternoon jams the highway at Elenga while Dhaka-bound traffic remains sparse Prothom Alo

In normal times around 12,000 to 13,000 vehicles cross Bangabandhu Bridge every day. From 6 am Thursday till 6 am Friday, a total of 48,321 vehicles crossed the bridge. This increased pressure of vehicles saw a traffic tailback along the 65 km highway from Bangabandhu Bridge to Gorai of Mirzapur upazila, Tangail. The thousands of passengers travelling home for Eid had to face immense suffering on the road.

Friday saw bumper-to-bumper slow moving traffic along a 20km stretch of the Dhaka-Tangail highway from Elenga to Korotia. In some places the traffic had come to a complete standstill.

Microbus driver Shahidul Islam, who had left Dhaka and just arrived at a CNG station in the Elenga bus stand area, said “It normally takes around two and a half hours to arrive here from Dhaka but today because of the traffic congestion, it has taken eight hours.”

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Shamimur Rahman started out in his own car from Dhaka, heading for Tangail. He said it took five hours to reach Mirzapur and then he got stuck for two hours in a traffic jam there. Then he inched along and covered 20 km to Korotia in two and a half hours.

A trip down the highway saw it packed with buses and trucks as well as people rushing homewards. The trucks which had transported livestock to the Dhaka cattle markets were now headed back to North Bengal. Vehicles were stuck for hours in the traffic. Passengers were falling sick in the heat. For women passengers it is even more difficult being stuck for so long. Many of them simply had to go to houses by the highway and ask to use the washroom.

Tangail additional superintendant of police (ASP) Shafiqul Islam, in charge of the highway, said that on Thursday night the toll plaza of Bangabandhu Bridge was closed 5 times, totalling 89 minutes in all, on Thursday night because of vehicles breaking down on the bridge, jams and other hitches in vehicle movement. He said this was the highest amount of traffic the road has seen so far.

Tangail police super Sanjit Kumar Roy said the police were doing their best to resolve the traffic congestion. Over 600 police were deployed along the Tangail stretch of the highway.