Travellers on the Dhaka-Chattogram highway are reaping the benefits of the newly-built second Meghna and second Gumti bridges, as they no longer have to wait for hours in horrific tailbacks at both ends of the old narrow bridges.
Cumilla-bound passengers yesterday reached their destinations within one-and-a-half Less than 5-hr hours from Dhaka while
it took around four-and-a-half hours for a passenger bus to reach Chattogram from the capital.
“It took only one-and-a-half hours to reach Cumilla from Dhaka yesterday, which is unbelievable. I hope our usual sufferings will come to an end from now on,” Sayeeda Roksana Munmun, a commuter, told The Daily Star.
Kabir Hossain, in-charge of Bhober Chor Highway Police Outpost, told this newspaper that he was informed that passenger buses from Dhaka yesterday reached Chattogram within four-and-a-half hours.
Previously, a trip to Cumilla would take seven to eight hours, while commuters from the capital would have to spend 10 to 12 hours to reach the port city.
The situation worsened ahead of Eid and during weekends, as more vehicles plied the roads.
Highway police yesterday said holiday-makers of the country’s eastern region would not have to face immense gridlocks during the Eid holidays due to the opening of the two new bridges on the Meghna and Gumti rivers.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the two four-lane bridges through a video conference on May 25.
Another newly-built bridge, the Kanchpur bridge, is already in operation and it has also contributed to reducing the sufferings of commuters.
A new overpass on the east end of Kanchpur bridge will also be opened before Eid, further easing traffic movement on the Dhaka-Chattogram and Dhaka-Sylhet highways, and boosting businesses as well.
Although some works will remain incomplete, the overpass on the east end of Kanchpur bridge will be opened to public on May 31.
The two new bridges are open in addition to the old two-lane ones.
The otherwise dual carriageway between the port city and the capital shrinks to a single one at the Meghna and Gumti bridges.
The old Kanchpur bridge is technically a dual carriageway but its width is not adequate.
Given this situation, traffic often crawls to a halt at the approaches to the bridges.
Around 95 percent of all export and import is done via Chattogram port, but traffic congestion caused by narrow bridges often results in losses for businesses.
Aminul Islam, a businessman, said opening of the new bridges would save two days and help boost exports and imports.