At least 25 percent of Chattogram city roads have been damaged due to nine consecutive days of rain and consequent waterlogging, hindering vehicular movement severely and resulting in immense sufferings for city dwellers.
Officials of Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) said out of the 1200-kilometre road network in the city, at least 300 kilometres were damaged by waterlogging triggered by downpour in last week.
Apprehending that the extent of damage is likely to increase, CCC Chief Engineer Lt Col Mohiuddin Ahmed said it would take at least one month to complete repair work of these roads.
During a recent visit to different places in the city, this correspondent found that the asphalt (the top layer of the road) at several places on most of the major roads in the city have been swept away.
Numerous potholes were created on Siraj-ud-Doula Road, Station Road, Airport Road, Dhaka Trunk Road, Bayezid Bostami Road, CDA Avenue, and Mohammad Yousuf Chowdhury Road.
Moreover, the rain has not only hindered the ongoing development work at Port Connecting Road and Agrabad Access Road, but also worsened the current condition there.
At Boropole intersection on Agrabad Access Road, heavy vehicles were seen getting stuck in wet sand, leading to huge traffic congestion.
‘IT’S LIKE RIDING A HORSE’
“Slow-paced development work has already caused traffic on this road to be in bad state for the last three years. Now it has become a nightmare to ply on it,” complained Akbar Hossain, a bus driver.
Badhon Ahmed, a dweller of Didar Market area on Siraj-ud-Doula Road, said the bumpy ride on this road has given him back pain.
“It’s like riding a horse. Yesterday I saw an old woman fall down from a rickshaw, as it hit a pothole and tilted badly,” said Badhon.
Another pitfall of the poor road condition is vehicle drivers demanding exorbitant fares for short distance trips, he added.
Mohammad Jamal, a CNG-run auto-rickshaw driver on Bayezid Bostami Road, said such battered road damages pistons of the vehicle’s engine, and reduces its economic life. “We also have to pay our employers and feed our families,” he justified the excessive fares.
CCC Chief Executive Officer Md Shamsuddoha said they were conducting repair works at all the places that were damaged.
“Water is the major enemy of bitumen (the key ingredient of asphalt). It was obvious that the rain and waterlogging would batter the roads. We are conducting thorough repair work, and hope to put an end to people’s sufferings,” he said.
Meanwhile, city planner Subhash Barua opined that fault in construction and low-grade materials used for paving roads were the major reasons for such damage.
“Bitumen is used all over the world for road construction, and no country is out of nature’s wrath. Then why do only our roads suffer from downpours? It is time to point out the actual reasons,” said Subash.
Regarding this, CCC Chief Engineer Mohiuudin said they conducted all development work in the best possible way within the stipulated budget, adding that there is always room for improvement, particularly if budget is not a constraint.