The highway connecting Lalmonirhat with Burimari land port, the second largest of its kind, has become risky for all.
Potholes have developed and carpeting has worn out on nearly 40 kilometres out of total 100 kilometres of the highway. But thousands of vehicles, especially cargo trucks, have to ply the highway every day, risking accidents and fatalities.
According to police control room, 25 people lost their lives in 15 accidents that took place on the road over the last twelve months.
On January 18, two members of police were killed when a truck carrying stones from Burimari land port ran them over in Khaner Bazar area under Hatibandha upazila.
Truck driver Nur Islam said he has 18 years of trucking experience on all highways in the country and out of all, the condition of Lalmonirhat-Burimari highway is the worst.
"I don't want to drive on this highway," he said, adding that drivers always have to worry about getting killed or killing others while driving on this highway. But there is no other option as this is the only road for transporting goods in and out of the land port.
Not just to drivers and passengers of different vehicles, the road poses risk to pedestrians as well.
Atiar Rahman, a resident of Khaner Bazar area in Hatibandha upazila, said pedestrians use the road with extreme risk as heavy trucks, loaded with stones and other goods, can get into severe accidents and cause fatalities on the road that is riddled with huge potholes.
Shamim Ahmed, who conducts his export and import business through Burimari port, said their cost of transport has been rising as many truck drivers refuse to transport goods to and from the port due to the poor condition of the road.
The highway has been in such a state for a long time, but the authorities concerned do not seem to care, he alleged.
However, Mohammad Mahbub Alam, executive engineer of Roads and Highways Department in Lalmonirhat, claimed that it has not been too long since the highway fell into disrepair. Rather, overloaded trucks frequenting the road have caused it to get damaged in a short period.
They have already been allocated Tk 40 crore for the repair of the dilapidated 40 kilometres of the highway and they were in the process of selecting a contractor firm for the work, he added.