Traffic gridlock on the four-lane Dhaka-Chittagong highway largely reduced yesterday after four days of unbearable congestion.
The situation improved as motorists were diverted to alternative routes around an 800-metre stretch of road in Feni's Fatehpur, where the construction work of a flyover is going on.
The tailbacks reached 114 kilometres between Chittagong and Comilla on Sunday.
Although the congestions reduced, tailbacks persisted on about an eight-kilometre stretch of road near Lalpur bridge in Feni and another 12-kilometre stretch of road near Comilla yesterday, highway police said.
The gridlocks started on Wednesday on both sides of the construction site.
As part of the four-lane highway was closed to traffic at the site, the tailbacks stretched from Feni to Chittagong's Mirsarai upazila to Comilla's Chouddagram.
Vehicles started moving early yesterday as Chittagong-bound vehicles began to use a three-kilometre long bypass road near Feni.
Most of the Dhaka-bound vehicles used Feni-Noakhali-Companyganj roads easing pressure on the main highway, said police.
Nazrul Islam, superintendent of highway police in Comilla, said, “There was one and a half kilometres of traffic jam on both sides of Fatehpur till 5:00pm on Monday. Police are working relentlessly to keep the traffic moving.”
The authorities are trying to improve the shape of the road near the construction site, he told The Daily Star.
The eight-kilometre tailback was seen between Feni's Lemuya Bazar and Fatehpur around 10:30pm.
Some vehicles took the wrong side of the road to avoid being stuck.
Mohammad Ali, a truck driver heading to Dhaka from Chittagong port, said there was no traffic jam from Chittagong.
At Fatehpur construction site, brick chips and sand were dumped on large potholes yesterday morning to let vehicles use the road.
Mahadi Hassan, traffic Inspector of Feni, said, “There were 26 large potholes that obstructed traffic. The authorities had filled them up now.”
Police sources added that the Feni bypass road where vehicles were diverted was also in a bad shape with as many as 76 large potholes.
INEXPERIENCE CAUSES SUFFERING
Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal at a press briefing at his office blamed inexperience of engineers and contractors for public sufferings on Dhaka-Chittagong highway.
“We are learning from our failures,” he said.
The traffic jam is being created due to construction of the flyover. The issue should have been considered while designing the flyover.
Roads and highways all over the country are in very bad shape, the minister admitted.