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Authorities wake up as flyovers ‘fail to help’
As the landing points of Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover experiencing serious traffic jams since its complete opening to traffic, authorities have taken a number of steps, including restricting rickshaws and enforcing traffic rules strictly, to fix the problem within three months.
Officials at Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) said the flyover authorities have assured them of bringing possible minor changes to its structures, if necessary, to ease the traffic congestions at its landing points.
However, experts at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) said it will not be possible to decongest the city traffic by only building flyovers.
They said decentralisation, private vehicle control, banning rickshaws on main roads, replacing minibuses with double-decker ones, and introducing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) are the real solution to the city’s vexing traffic problems. Flyovers only shift the problem from one point to another, they added.
Commuters alleged that though the traffic congestions eased at some points beneath the flyover areas like Mouchak and Moghbazar, it got shifted to its exit points like Bangla Motor, Sat Rasta, Wireless Gate and Malibagh Chowdhury Para.
Contacted, DMP Additional Commissioner (Traffic) Mosleh Uddin told UNB that it is quite natural to see traffic jams when vehicles speedily move over and get down through an exit point of the flyover. “But, we’ve taken a number of steps to address the problem.”
As part of the initiative, he said, rickshaws now cannot cross the flyover’s Eskaton exit point to go to Banglamotor from Moghbazar.
“Besides, the vehicles, which plying beneath the flyover towards Banglamotor crossing for the right turn, are diverted to the left and they have to take U-turn at Sheraton crossing. We’re looking for solutions to the problems as well,” Mosleh Uddin said.
He said they have reinforced police at the exit points of the flyover to force the commuters to follow traffic rules. “Traffic police have been trying their best to keep the traffic congestions at a tolerable level at all the exit points.”
Mosleh Uddin said they will evict illegal structures, vendors from pavements and roads and take stern action against those who illegally park their vehicles on roads near the exit points of the overpass.
He said they are also working with the flyover authorities and working out ways to ease the traffic congestions. “They have assured us of bringing some minor structural changes to the flyover for smooth movement of vehicles. We expect to have a good solution by three months.”
Shyama Prasad Adhikari, the chief engineer of the local government and engineering department (LGED), said they are working with the traffic department to control the tailbacks at the end of different exit points.
The LGED chief engineer said flyover has been constructed as part of the Strategic Transport Plan for Dhaka (STPD). This flyover is one of the 76 features of STPD. The traffic congestion will totally go away on its completion.”
Mohammad Shamsul Hoque, a professor of Civil Engineering Department at Buet, said the flyover has not been constructed taking expert opinions.
He said tailbacks can be reduced significantly by increasing mass transports and setting up a dedicated lane for public bus. “We should replace the minibuses with double-deckers to ensure best use of the roads and reduce traffic pressure.”
Sarwar Jahan, a professor of Urban and Regional Planning (URP) Department at BUET, said flyovers only can shift the traffic pressure from one point to another.
He said the government should focus on the mass transit system like Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and that are crucial for alleviating traffic congestions.
On October 26, the much-awaited 8.7-km Mouchak-Moghbazar flyover was fully opened to public with the just-completed around 4-km Malibagh-Rajarbagh-Shantinagar section, aiming to ease traffic congestion and ensure better road communications in the capital.
The Tk 1,219-crore flyover was built on 311 single piers along the central line of the existing roads with 50 ramps.