Some relief after opening

Heavy traffic flow on a side of the Saat Rasta-Holy Family Hospital section of the Moghbazar-Mouchak Flyover soon after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened the stretch for public. The 2km-long four-lane elevated carriageway is expected to ease traffic in Hatirjheel, Saat Rasta, FDC, Karwanbazar and Moghbazar areas. Photo: Collected

The Saat Rasta-Holy Family Hospital part of the Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover was plagued with long tailback moments after it was opened to traffic yesterday.

Hundreds of vehicles had to move at a snail's pace in the congestion that stretched about a kilometre on the 2km-long four-lane carriageway.

Snarl-ups were also found on the roads in the Bailey Road and Kakrail areas, near the Holy Family end of the flyover.

However, no traffic congestion was seen at the Saat Rasta and the FDC-Hatirjheel intersections, unlike on the previous weekdays. Usually, the commuters have to wait and wrestle in long tailbacks on both ways to pass through these intersections.

Asked about the unusual congestion on the newly opened stretch of the flyover, transport planning expert Prof Shamsul Hoque said many wanted to experience driving on the elevated carriageways out of curiosity, which could be one of the key reasons for the congestion.

Traffic flow on the flyover is expected to become normal gradually, he added.

Bottlenecks at the two ends of the flyover and a three-hour-long demonstration blocking the Shahbagh intersection are also believed to have contributed to the traffic situation.

The Tk 280-crore carriageway would ease the "notorious" traffic situation in this part of the capital, hoped Abdul Baset, who lives at Moghbazar.

"The flyover would have been more effective had it been stretched beyond the intersection near Ramna Police Station," said biker Shahid Shams, who got stuck in the congestion after riding up the flyover from the Saat Rasta end.

The facility apparently has not much eased the peak-hour traffic, said Nurul Islam, a CNG-run auto-rickshaw driver. "You can see tailbacks at Moghbazar intersection and on the flyover."

The elevated carriageway, also meant for an overpass at Moghbazar level-crossing, is part of the much-talked-about 8.7km Moghbazar-Mouchak Flyover.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in January approved a cost increase of the flyover project by Tk 446.2 crore, raising the overall cost to Tk 1,218.9 crore. Tk 85 crore was allocated for a 450-metre extension of the flyover over Karwan Bazaar level-crossing.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the flyover by unveiling an inaugural plaque at the Saat Rasta intersection and later spoke as the chief guest at an inaugural ceremony at the Officers' Club. It was she who had inaugurated construction of the flyover in February 2013.

Tk 280 crore was spent to complete the Saat Rasta-Holy Family Hospital stretch of the flyover, said officials at the programme.

It cost Tk 14 lakh for each meter of the flyover, they said.

Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said the section of the flyover would decrease waste of work hours and fuel costs of transports by easing traffic.

Chief Engineer Shyama Prosad Adhikari of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), the implementing agency of the project, said the remaining two sections of the flyover would hopefully be completed by December, much ahead of the June 2017 deadline.

The length of the Banglamotor-Mouchak section is 2.25km and that of the Malibagh-Razarbagh-Shantinagar part is 4km, he said.

The flyover, which will have 50 ramps and earthquake resistant equipment, is being built on 311 single-piers along the central line of the existing roads, which would save consumption the road spaces, he said.

"The entire flyover would help vehicles pass over a total of eight intersections and three level-crossings.

"And it would help ease north-south traffic movement in the capital and traffic bottlenecks at the intersections," said Shyama Prosad.

The project is financed jointly by the Saudi Development Fund, the OPEC Fund for International Development and the Bangladesh government, he added.

The LGED embarked on the flyover scheme in early 2013 with a 2005 layout configuration, ignoring mandatory approval of the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority.