Thousands of passengers suffered from gridlocks on the major highways across the country yesterday as people headed for their destinations ahead of another spell of nationwide blockade beginning this morning.
The BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance had enforced a non-stop blockade of rail, roads and waterways from the New Year's Day to resist the January 5 parliamentary polls. People only had a respite from the blockade in the last two days.
Although traffic on the Dhaka-Tangail highway came to a standstill for about 15 hours yesterday, vehicles moved very slowly on the Tongi-Joydevpur road.
There was no gridlock on the Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Mymensingh highways, but vehicles plied the roads intermittently. A large number of goods-laden trucks hit the highways.
Passengers were stuck in a gridlock stretched around 70-kilometre of the Dhaka-Tangail highway since Friday night due to a heavy traffic. Dense fog and several broken down vehicles made things even worse for the travellers, reports our Tangail correspondent.
The gridlock stared around 10:00pm on Friday. It stretched from the Bangabandhu Bridge area at Bhuapur upazila of Tangail to Chandra in Kaliakoir upazila of Gazipur.
Visiting the highway at 3:00pm, a correspondent of this newspaper saw hundreds of vehicles stuck at different places on the two-lane highway.
Private employee Ismail Hossain took a bus of Desh Travels from the capital's Kalabagan at 7:00am for Chapainawabganj. He reached Tangail at 2:30pm, which is usually a three-hour trip.
Mokhlesur Rahman, helper of the Pabna-bound Ishwardi Express, said his bus left Dhaka at 11:30pm on Friday and reached Tangail at 10:30am yesterday.
Ovijit Ghosh of Bhuapur upazila said he along with nine others started for Tangail from Dhaka by a microbus at 10:30pm on Friday and reached their destination at 6:30am last morning.
“Our microbus got stuck at Chandra, Kaliakoir, Mirzapur, Kurni, Dhalla, Pakulla, Natiapara, Karatia and Ashekpur areas due to huge tailbacks of hundreds of vehicles,” mentioned Ovijit.
Talking to The Daily Star, Tangail Superintendent of Police Saleh Mohammed Tanvir said the traffic congestion was created due to a heavy rush of buses and goods-laden trucks on the narrow highway.
“The situation was improving since the afternoon as stranded vehicles started running on both directions,” he added.
Our Gazipur correspondent reports: Huge tailbacks were seen on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway and other roads of the district for the second straight day yesterday.
A one-kilometre long tailback was created near the Chandina intersection throughout the day. In the evening, there were gridlocks at different points of the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway, including one near the Joydevpur roundabout.
Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on either side of the Tongi-Joydevpur road last night.
Our Comilla correspondent adds: Vehicles, including a large number of goods-laden trucks, plied intermittently on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway throughout the day yesterday.
There was a long queue of goods-laden trucks, covered vans and lorries in the five kilometre stretch of the road between Kalakachua to Comilla Cantonment.
On an average, 30,000 vehicles ply the highway everyday, but there were a lot more yesterday.
Apparel traders are facing difficulty in sending goods to Chittagong port and bringing raw materials from the port due to blockades. Many of them chose Friday and Saturday to do the job.