Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) has taken up a Tk 850-crore project for constructing flyovers at five more locations in the city, but has skipped the city's most traffic-congested area, Shaheb Bazar.
The area needs a longer flyover than the ones planned, and as a result will involve huge costs, said the corporation's superintending engineer Noor Islam. RCC is planning a separate project to build a flyover at that point, but it is not happening anytime soon, he informed.
"It is difficult to gather funds for a flyover at Shaheb Bazar," said Islam.
The city corporation has been building a flyover at the city's Mohonpur area since 2018. Rajshahi Development Authority is also building another flyover beside Rajshahi University of Engineering Technology.
Now, the corporation has taken the fresh "Urban Infrastructure Development Project" for constructing the five new flyovers -- at Horogram, Court Station railway crossing, Bhadra railway crossing, Bornali intersection and Martyred AHM Qamaruzzaman Square areas.
However, locals said other than the flyover at Qamaruzzaman Square, most flyovers would be barely used.
However, Noor Islam, who is also the project director, said the flyovers will be utilised in the near future, as the city's population has been soaring.
Prof Md Kumruzzaman, head of Urban & Regional Planning department at Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology (Ruet) said RCC's plans for the flyover were logical in the sense that these would be essential in the near future with increase of population and vehicles. However, he criticised the city authorities' approach.
"I felt sorry that the corporation didn't think to consult with the university's experts before taking ups those plans. If consulted with, quality services could have been ensured."
He also said a prior assessment would have been required to figure out how many flyovers the city of about 90 square kilometers needs.
Ahmed Shafi Uddin, president of Rajshahi chapter of Shusashoner Jonno Nagorik, said some of the locations chosen for constructing the flyovers have no more than five-minute congestions.
"Contrarily, reducing traffic of Shaheb Bazar is an emergency," he said, adding that he and many others avoid Shaheb Bazar even when necessary to avoid congestion in office hours.
Shafi, also a retired Rajshahi University officer, said the flyovers have become an obsolete technology and create environmental pollution in many cities.
"Developed world is installing mass rapid transit systems," he said.
On Thursday afternoon, Noor Islam signed agreements with three architectural institutions for preparing designs for the flyovers in a ceremony at Rajshahi Nagar Bhaban.
Addressing the ceremony, RCC mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton directed the appointed designers to make the flyovers eye-catching.
The mayor in his speech mentioned that the government is releasing Tk 3,000 crore for different city development works, and that he was lobbying for Tk 4,000 crore more.
Other than the flyovers, the corporation is also spending Tk 353 crore for 19 other projects, including those for constructing a Central Shaheed Minar, conventions centres, libraries, markets, and for landscaping and beautifying the city.
He also said the corporation is playing a role in setting up a new Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation estate and Tannery Industrial Park, and acquiring 22 ponds for creating natural parks in the city.
SARM Associates Limited, Design Planning and Management Consultant Limited, and Vistaara Architects Private Limited are designing for the projects. The designing would cost the corporation Tk 7.36 crore.