Safe Eid journey: Additional initiatives and monitoring urgent

This time Eid-ul-Azha is going to be observed at a time when roads and highways in large parts of the country have been severely damaged due to floods. Potholes have emerged in the roads in Sylhet region. Many roads in the northern region are being repaired. This may result in traffic jams. However, passengers in 21 southern districts can expect relief with the launch of the much-awaited Padma Bridge. Every year during Eid, there were severe traffic jams at Mawa-Shimulia and Paturia-Goalanda ghats.

Bangladesh has entered the expressway era from the ferry era, and this is a big breakthrough in road transport. But at the same time, the question remains as to how much we have achieved in terms of management and capabilities required to operate bridges and expressways.

According to Prothom Alo, there may be traffic jam on the Dhaka-Chittagong route due to the toll collection and weight control center of the bridge and the markets on the road. Apart from that, the Dhaka-Sylhet highway has become dangerous due to potholes and ditches in different places. On the other hand, passengers heading north from Dhaka will suffer due to road repairs. With the opening of the Nalka Bridge and the flyover at Mahasthangarh Bazar in Sirajganj before Eid, the suffering of the passengers of northern regions will be lessened if traffic congestion on other parts of the road can be controlled.

Despite the launch of the Padma Bridge, Hadiuzzaman, a professor in the engineering department of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), fears traffic jams in the south. He said many people would like to go home in private cars or microbuses along with buses and trucks during Eid as the Padma Bridge has opened. He is fearing a traffic jam at the toll plaza due to traffic congestion. Authorities must pay extra attention to the management of toll plazas. Apart from that, the engineer suggested to keep the ferry ready as an alternative measure if the traffic pressure on the bridge is high during Eid to cope with the increased traffic heading to southern region. The concerned authorities may consider these issues.

The concern is that while road infrastructure can be improved to a certain extent, we are lagging far behind in road and bridge management. The country has not developed efficient highway traffic management to force vehicles to abide by proper rules.

Traffic management of our highways runs through irregularities and chaos. Again the number of vehicles increases during festivals, it often goes out of control. This situation can be handled only through strict implementation of traffic rules.

In this situation, additional initiatives and attention are needed to ensure the safety and security of millions of people. Large numbers of people mostly died in motorcycle accidents last Eid. To avoid accidents and congestion at the toll plaza of the bridge, the government has banned the movement of motorcycles on the highway during the Eid vacation. The results can be obtained if it is strictly enforced.

Apart from that, minor problems such as potholes in highways can be quickly identified and repaired, even on a temporary basis. Special attention should be paid to the management of alternative roads where renovation work is going on. The most important thing is to make sure that no one can break the law under any circumstances.