A death trap for Ctg commuters
Buses lie idle on one side of a road, while vehicles stop abruptly to take in passengers in front of the entrance to a bridge on the other side.
There are also roadside shops next to a footpath in the area, which remains mostly occupied by vendors forcing pedestrians to walk on the roads.
A long queue of human-hauliers and three-wheelers occupy a large portion of the roadsides.
Moreover, the area lacks a foot-over bridge.
Amid the chaos, people continue to get in or off the vehicles, or cross the roads to go to the other sides.
This has become a regular scenario in the port city's Karnaphuli Shah Amanat Bridge area, where accidents have become a common phenomenon due to traffic mismanagement and engineering fault of the roundabout known as Bashiruzzaman Chattar.
The latest accident occurred last month on a Wednesday morning when a schoolteacher was killed after being run over by a bus while crossing a road in the area.
According to Bangladesh Passengers' Welfare Association, over 25 accidents occurred last year on that spot.
Around 17 people were killed and over a hundred got injured in those accidents, said Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, secretary general of the association.
According to experts, engineering fault and traffic mismanagement are responsible for the high frequency of accidents.
Town Planner Eng Subhash Barua said the roundabout was built too close to the bridge. As a result, vehicles exiting the bridge often cannot control their speed and consequently accidents take place.
He said the roundabout should have been built minimum 100 metre (300ft) away from the bridge. But it was built not more than six metre (20ft) away from the bridge.
He held traffic mismanagement responsible for the accidents. “Why do vehicles park there? Why passengers have to wait on the roads to board buses?” he asked. “It's unfortunate that we cannot manage a simple junction...”
Sagar Sen, a commuter, said, “There's no waiting place for passengers although thousands use the roads everyday. We are forced to stand on the roads while waiting for transports. Also, we have to cross those amid risk as there is no foot-over bridge.”
Contacted, Abdullah Khan Badal, traffic inspector (Bakalia), said hundreds of vehicles of 19 routes board passengers from the spot making it difficult for traffic police to manage.
Abdus Sattar Rony, general secretary of South Chittagong Passengers' Welfare Association, said thousands of commuters from seven upazilas in southern Chittagong as well as Bandarban and Cox's Bazar use the roads everyday.
“We have been demanding for a foot-over bridge in the area along with a passenger shed for a long time,” he said.
Zulfiqar Ahmed, executive engineer of roads and highways department, Chittagong, said the roundabout was inaugurated in September 2010 at the same time of the bridge.
When asked about the demand for a foot-over bridge, he said that no one “demanded” for a foot-over bridge in the area. “I have come to know about the necessity of one from you for the first time,” he said.
He, however, admitted that accidents occur frequently in the area. “We will write to the ministry for building a foot-over bridge there after weighing the necessity.”
Meanwhile, Town Planner Zarina Hossain said the roundabout was not constructed in a planned way. She also held traffic mismanagement responsible for making the spot an accident prone area.
When asked, Abu Hena Mohammad Tareq Iqbal, superintendent engineer of Chittagong road circle, roads and highways department, admitted that there is an engineering fault in the construction of the roundabout near the bridge.
“We are planning to reconstruct the roundabout in the upcoming four-lane Chittagong-Cox's Bazar Highway project, which will start within the next 18 months,” he said.