Workers mending the potholes at Sitakunda on Dhaka-Chittagong Highway yesterday. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das/star
Highways are still in bad shape as there is lot to do to make the roads usable ahead of the Eid.
Some roads and highways are still in bad shape with the deadline set by Communications Minister Obaidul Quader to repair all the highways expiring yesterday.
And the repair work that has so far been done is feared to become useless if there is rainfall, raising concern that there might be no relief this time either for people who will be travelling outside Dhaka to spend the Eid with their near and dear ones.
The Roads and Highways Department (RHD) staff are making all out efforts to turn all the roads usable but they said it would take a few more days to complete the job, if there's no rain. “Rains will damage the repaired roads and create fresh potholes since these are being done on a temporary basis mainly with bricks, brickbats and sand,” said an RHD official.
Though the overall condition of Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Mymensingh highways improved in the last few days, many potholes were still gaping and workers were found filling it yesterday.
A part of the newly constructed two-lane highway between Dhaka-Chittagong has been opened to public to ease traffic ahead of the Eid.
Visiting the 35km stretch of the road between Chittagong Citygate and Sitakunda yesterday, one of our staff correspondents saw RHD staffs repairing damaged spots in Sitakunda Bypass and Bhatiari areas.
Nevertheless, the ongoing expansion work and the narrowness of the road may cause tailbacks and sufferings of the people once the home rush begins, said RHD officials.
Authorities have a lot to do to make the Dhaka-Mymensingh Road usable ahead of the Eid, which is a little over a week away. Apart from potholes at various points of the road that has been in a sorry state for years due to expansion work, heaps of mud and construction materials on the roadsides are slowing down traffic movement.
The Dhaka-Sylhet Highway is in a relatively better state, thanks to recent repair work.
However, Dhaka-Bangabandhu Bridge Highway, which connects 26 districts to the capital, is not in a satisfactory condition at all.
Visiting the 65km stretch of the highway between Kaliakoir and Bhuapur yesterday, our Tangail correspondent found potholes and large craters at Deohata, Mirzapur, Ashimtola, Natiapara, Korokia, Karatipara of Mirzapur upazila.
While vehicles crawl on the under-construction Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway at Digarkanda. The communications minister had promised that all highways would be repaired by yesterday for the Eid rush. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das/star
RHD people, divided in three teams, were seen feverishly working to repair the highway.
“We have been repairing the potholes over the last three weeks but raining damages the road,” said Executive Engineer Ranapriyo Barua of the RHD.
Amirul Islam, driver of Nirala Paribahan that operates on Dhaka-Tangail route, said that the temporary patch up would not bring any respite as rain may wash away all the repair work.
Of the 163km Mawa-Barisal Road, the condition of 48km stretch between Burgata and Barisal is in a bad shape, reported our Barisal correspondent.
Though Executive Engineer Khaled Shahed of the RHD claimed to have completed 75 percent of the repair work, locals believed it wouldn't be more than 50 percent.
Potholes were detected yesterday in Mahilara, Batajor, Gournadi and Kashipur areas.
Potholes and craters have been a common sight on Jessore-Khulna Road, especially on the part across Nawapara which has a lot of bends. RHD men were found filling the potholes with sand and brick chunks at some points, reported our Jessore correspondent.
Such frantic effort of the RHD to repair roads is nothing new for the nation. Ahead of every Eid every year, the communications ministry comes up with assurances of "hassle-free" journey home for people and becomes very active in repairing roads and highways, spending crores of taka. However, home-goers still remain stuck for hours in tailbacks as long as 50km or even more and their sufferings make headlines in mass media every year.