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13 August, 2017 12:15:24 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 13 August, 2017 11:27:13 AM

Upkeep gap takes toll on highways

Eid travellers stare at bumpy ride over potholed roads
Upkeep gap takes toll on highways
Vehicles move through thick mud on a dilapidated road in Jhenidah as the lack of proper maintenance and recent rains have turned many parts of highways and roads across the country ‘almost’ unusable. Photo: Ahemed Nasim Ansary

Crumbling roads and highways in the districts have become a deathtrap for commuters as maintenance remains elusive. Thousands of vehicles carrying passengers or goods in these routes everyday stare at breakdowns or accidents because of the worsening conditions of the country's national roadways. Passengers often fail to reach their destinations on time as vehicles crawl along these decrepit roads. Such roads also damage the vehicles, transport owners said.

People concerned said if the highways are not repaired immediately before the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha, holidaymakers would have a tough time travelling on these roads.

At present, the total length of the national highways is 3,790.86 km and that of the regional highways is 4,06.52 km, while zila roads stretch for 13,126.13km.

Though the authorities have undertaken some makeshift maintenance work, it it unlikely to be enough due to rain and the heavy volume of traffic on these roads.

“A monitoring team has visited locations across the country to observe the state of the national highways,” MAN Siddique, secretary of the Road Transport and Highways Division, told The Independent.

“It's true that some potholes have surfaced on national highways due to incessant rain. If we get sunny days for around a week, we'll be able to repair these potholes,” he said.

He added that many steps have also been taken to make travelling on the highways smooth, ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.

“Development work is also going on some national highways. So, vehicle speeds remain curbed in those places. These sufferings will end once those projects are complete,” the Road Transport and Highways Division said, while replying to a query.

Sources said that decrepit roads across the country include the Dhaka-Tangail highway, the Sirajganj-Bogra highway, the Joydevpur-Chandra highway, the Gazipur to Tongi Bridge highway, the Rajshahi-Chapainawabganj highway, the Rajshahi-Natore highway, the Bonpara-Sirajganj highway, the Khulan-Satkhira highway, the Barisal-Patuakhali highway, the Lalmonirhat-Atidmari highway and the Sylhet region.

Especially, the Kaliakoir bypass, the Mirzapur bypass, Pakullah, Korotia on the Dhaka-Tangail highway, Tongi railway station area, and Bogra bypass on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway, Mymensingh to Jamalpur via Muktagachha highway, Hatikumrul, Raiganj and Kazipur of Sirajganj-Bogra highway, Vulta at Gawchhiya and Mohipal in Feni on Dhaka-Chittagong highway are in bad shape for a long time in absence of timely maintenance. Our Gazipur correspondent adds that the 20-km-long highway from Gazipur Chowrasta-Tongi Bridge is in a dilapidated condition for a long time. As the road has become unfit for vehicular movement due to huge craters and potholes, as well as erasing of the concrete, it takes four to five hours to cross the 20-km stretch.

Industrial effluents, stagnant rain water, and garbage strewn across the road have made the situation worse. Besides, the 15-km stretch from Joydevpur to Chandra is in a rundown condition for a long time.

The Gazipur deputy commissioner, along with local government engineering development (LGED), Roads and Highways and City Corporation held a meeting last Thursday to find out a solution for the roads.

Our Tangail correspondent adds that a 70-km stretch from Chandra-Elenga on the Dhaka-Tangail highway is in a bad condition due to innumerable potholes caused by rainwater and absence of repair work.

Besides, the upgrade of the highway into a four-lane one is also one of the major causes for the gridlock that has become a daily feature.

Vehicles from 35 districts in the northern regions, including Jamalpur and Sherpur, use the highway everyday.

Our Bogra correspondent reports that the passengers on the Bogra-Sirajganj route have to spend hours on the highways due to acute gridlock because of bad roads. The road conditions at Hatikumrul, Kazipur, Raiganj are the worst.

In Rajshahi, the 10-km road from Kasiadanga of Rajshahi to Rajabari of Godagari upazila are in a bad condition as the carpeting of the roads have been wiped out.

Besides, a four-km stretch of road in Kansat Bazar under Shibganj upazila in Chapainawabangj has become unfit for vehicular movement due to the potholes. On the other hand, a 200-yard stretch in Boholabari intesection and a one-kilometre stretch in Sonamasjid zone area under Shibganj upazila remain dilapidated.

A 10-km stretch of national highway from Hoybodpur to Bonpara on Rajshahi-Natore highway is in a bad condition, making vehicular movement dangerous.

Besides, a 10-km stretch between Kachikata of Gurudaspur upazila to Harinchara of Tarash upazila, belonging to Bonpara and Sirajganj highway, is in a precarious condition.

An 18-km stretch between Chandaikona to Hatikumrul is in a dilapidated condition. Though some maintenance work is going on, drivers on this route said it is not helping as most of the patchwork gets washed away by the rains.

Although the Natore-Bogra highway is not in a broken-down condition, the road surface is wavy and not smooth, making driving difficult.

Our Barisal correspondent reports that the 77.6-km stretch between Vurghata of Gournadi upazila to Lebukhali of Bakerganj upazilas is in a bad shape making traffic movement difficult.

Of the 77.6 km, 50.6 km of the road is in a state of extreme disrepair and unfit for vehicular movement. The rest of the 27 odd kilometres is also in a bad condition.

The authorities concerned said that sudden heavy showers have led to the dilapidated condition of the roads. Yet, no significant work was  visible.

Our Khulna correspondent adds that the 35-km stretch of Khula-Shatkhira highway is in a dilapidated condition for a long time. Vehicular movement is very slow on this road.

In Lalmonirhat, the one-kilometre stretch from Sarnamoti bridge to Atidmari railway station remains dilapidated. Though maintenance work is going on for two months, its progress is too slow. Very often, vehicles suffer breakdowns because of the road condition.

In Sylhet, about 400 kms of roads have remain in dilapidated condition for long. Of the total, 150 km is under the Roads & Highways Department (RHD), while the rest is under the Local Government Engineering Development (LGED).

Sources said that the extent of the damage is becoming larger with innumerable potholes at places in absence of regular and timely repair work.



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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