The lone foot-over bridge at Court Point in Sylhet city is often left unused while a large crowd crossing the road below it remains a regular scenario.
“This should be overcrowded, especially during office hours, but look, no one is using it,” a pedestrian told this correspondent, while crossing the road underneath.
People were not aware enough as there had been no initiatives from the authorities concerned regarding the risk of road crossing, especially during rush hours, alleged locals.
The city corporation did not build any divider on the road to compel people to use the footbridge, they added.
On top of that, while the construction work was underway, the importance of this type of footbridge was also questionable as the road is narrow, they added.
According to the civic body, Court Point is one of the busiest areas of the city. To help the pedestrians cross the road easily, the Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) undertook the footbridge project in 2014.
The project was completed in 2015, inaugurated by the Finance Minister AMA Muhith.
The Tk 1.63 crore-project with six openings was implemented by Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation's Chittagong Dry Dock Ltd. It was among four major projects undertaken for the city's urbanisation.
Nur Azizur Rahman, chief engineer (acting) of the SCC, said, “We have taken plans to set up a road divider with barbed-wire fences and a wall beside the footpath to force pedestrians to use the footbridge.”
Another footbridge at Surma Point (Zero Point), around 0.25km away from the first one, was being constructed by Sylhet Zila Parishad before the finance minister asked to postpone the construction work considering some issues, said Abdul Kader Mozahid, assistant engineer of Sylhet Zila Parishad.
He was considering shifting the second footbridge to Humayun Rashid Chattar, the connecting point of the city and Dhaka-Sylhet Highway, as pedestrians keep on putting their lives at risk while crossing it, said Zila Parishad sources.
According to the Zila Parishad, the structure of the new footbridge at Surma Point was designed to be built in two steps. The first one, sub-structure (also called civil structure), was completed at a cost of Tk 19 lakh. The remaining super-structure, upper part of the footbridge, has been budgeted at Tk 1.55 crore to be constructed by the Chittagong Dry Dock Ltd.
If the project is officially cancelled, then the expenditure on the sub-structure will be a waste of money, said Zila Parishad officials.
Munir Helal, a lawyer, said, “SCC and Zila Parishad are working on some fancy projects like the footbridges depriving the citizens' of major demands.”
“People are neither aware nor want to use the bridges until the authorities take necessary steps to force them to use them. The authorities should also concentrate on other important issues like water crisis, sewerage system development, proper garbage collection and road communication development,” he said.