A two-kilometre section of the widely criticised 8.5km Mouchak-Moghbazar flyover in the capital is set for opening to traffic tomorrow.
The four-lane carriageway linear section passes over the Moghbazar level crossing and flies over Saat Rasta and Moghbazar intersections, two intersections notorious for congestion.
It stretches from Saat Rasta intersection (Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad Avenue) up to Shaheed Captain Mansur Ali Avenue (Moghbazar) near Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College Hospital.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to formally inaugurate the section, said a project official. The inauguration was earlier scheduled for March 26.
During a visit around the flyover site yesterday afternoon, construction workers were seen busy doing some last minute patch-up under the flyover section ready for inauguration.
The construction work of this portion was carried out hurriedly over the past few weeks to get it ready for inauguration.
As to why a section of the flyover was being hurriedly opened, Project Director Nazmul Alam said, “We just wanted to open as much of it to the public as is ready, since a high volume of traffic uses this road.”
“The sooner we open it, the more it would help the people,” he said.
As to whether they had any estimate of the volume of traffic that use this portion of the road, Nazmul said, “I can't say that instantly.”
He said they would open another two-kilometre stretch of the flyover --from Banglamotor to Mouchak -- in June and rest of the flyover covering Mouchak, Rajarbagh and Shanti Nagar by early next year. The deadline for the project is June next year.
The Saat Rasta-Moghbazar section of the flyover would facilitate only a portion of the existing traffic volume, as there is no provision for right turns, said relevant experts.
Prof Shamsul Hoque, who worked as a technical expert on Strategic Transport Plan of Dhaka, said it would help as a parallel alternative diversion for traffic during the ensuing metro rail construction work along Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue.
One may recall that the Local Government Engineering Division embarked on the Tk 1200-crore controversial flyover scheme in early 2013 with a faulty layout configuration of 2005, ignoring mandatory approval of Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority.
The flyover aimed at resolving notorious traffic congestion in Mouchak, Malibagh, Moghbazar and adjoining areas will hardly serve the purpose, as it lacks necessary right turn provision, leading experts had said.
As a consequence, public transport vehicles rushing from Motijheel through Shanti Nagar, Rajarbagh, and Mouchak will have no option to turn right towards Tejgaon at Moghbazar intersection, they said.
The flyover received strong criticism that it would be an immovable roadblock to the implementation of the mass transport services like metro rail (MRT) and rapid bus service (BRT).
Two metro rail routes and two rapid bus service routes were recommended in the Strategic Transport Plan along the road corridors, now obstructed by the flyover.
It would primarily serve cars only for partial passage while the footpaths and foot bridges in the project area would be reduced and removed to give way to the flyover, they said.
Apart from ignoring mandatory transport coordination authority's approval, the LGED did not involve relevant experts or hold any public hearing on the flyover.
Initially, it was supposed to be completed in two years since contract signing in late 2012. A total of 18 ramps, including eight for ascending, are planned to land at Saat Rasta, Pragati Sarani, and FDC intersection, near Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College and Hospital at Eskaton Garden, Moghbazar, Rajarbagh and Shanti Nagar.