The footbridge is there at Farmgate but a sign, top, asks pedestrians to use other bridges close by. The bridge has been out of commission for over a month with no sign of authorities concerned trying to repair it. Photo: Sk Enamul Haq
Well over a month into blocking a footbridge at Farmgate, the authorities are yet to make any move to renovate it, causing immense suffering to pedestrians in one of the most bustling areas of the capital.
The footbridge, adjacent to Ananda Cinema Hall, was blocked by Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) on July 18 after a study report of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) termed it risky for use.
Pedestrians, however, risk their lives to cross the busy Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue and sometimes they get tangled in the barbed-wire fence. Photo: Sk Enamul Haq
Pedestrians unaware of the block were shocked to see the entries sealed off with metal bars and polythene sheets.
To cross the road, they had to use any of the two nearby footbridges standing on either side of it, each about 200 yards away.
Rarjana Sultana, a journalist of the daily Jay Jay Din, was seen hurrying back to another footbridge, weaving her way through a swarming crowd of commuters and vendors, and rattling vehicles.
Shukria Nazmul Shorna, a first year student of Lalmatia Girls' College, said this foot bridge is very close to the bus stoppage on both lanes of the Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue.
"So any person who wants to take a bus on the other lane now has to walk all the way to another footbridge and then back to the bus stoppage," she complained.
Prof AFM Saiful Amin, team leader of the BUET study, said he suggested stopping pedestrians' movement on the footbridge due to the risks involved. He also suggested carrying out a feasibility study for the most cost-effective means of its renovation.
BM Enamul Haque, chief executive officer of the DNCC, said implementation of the government's metro rail project will eliminate the need for footbridges at Farmgate.
"Before taking any final decision, we have to take the metro rail project into consideration. We nonetheless will involve BUET experts to carry out a feasibility study and take a decision based on their recommendations," he said.
Professor Saiful Amin, however, noted it would be unwise to procrastinate since this foot bridge is used by a huge number of people.
"The feasibility study should be aimed at finding whether retrofitting or rebuilding a new one is more cost-effective. Based on that finding, the footbridge should be re-opened to the public soon," he said.