As the landing points of Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover have been experiencing gridlocks since its opening to traffic, authorities have taken several steps, including restricting rickshaws and strictly enforcing traffic rules, to fix the problem within three months.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) officials said the flyover authorities had assured them of bringing minor changes to its structures, if necessary, to ease traffic congestions at its landing points.
However, experts at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) said it would not be possible to decongest the city traffic by only building flyovers.
They said decentralisation, private vehicle control, banning rickshaws on main roads, replacing minibuses with double-deckers, and introducing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) are the real solutions to the vexing traffic problems. Flyovers only shift the problem from one point to another.
Commuters alleged that though the traffic congestions eased at some points beneath the flyover in areas like Mouchak and Moghbazar, it got shifted to its exit points like Bangla Motor, Saat Rasta, Wireless Gate and Malibagh Chowdhury Para.
DMP Additional Commissioner (traffic) Mosleh Uddin told UNB that it was natural to see traffic jams when vehicles speedily move over and get down through an exit point of the flyover. "But, we've taken a number of steps to address the problem."
As part of the initiative, he said, rickshaws now cannot cross the flyover's Eskaton exit point to go to Banglamotor from Moghbazar.
"Besides, vehicles using the road beneath the flyover towards Bangla Motor crossing for the right turn are diverted to the left and they have to take U-turn at Sheraton crossing. We're looking for solutions to the problems as well," Mosleh Uddin said.
He said they had reinforced police at the flyover’s exit points to force commuters follow traffic rules. "We have been trying our best to keep the traffic congestions at a tolerable level at the exit points."
Mosleh Uddin said they would evict illegal structures, vendors from pavements and roads and take stern action against illegal vehicle parking on roads near the exit points of the overpass.
He said they were also working with the flyover authorities and working out ways to ease the traffic congestions. "They have assured us of bringing some minor structural changes to the flyover for smooth movement of vehicles. We expect to have a good solution by three months."
Shyama Prasad Adhikari, the chief engineer of the Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED), said they were working with the traffic department to control the tailbacks at the end of different exit points.
He said the flyover had been constructed as part of the Strategic Transport Plan for Dhaka (STPD). It is one of the 76 features of STPD.
Mohammad Shamsul Hoque, a professor of Civil Engineering Department at Buet, said the flyover had not been constructed taking expert opinions.
He said tailbacks can be reduced significantly by increasing mass transports and setting up a dedicated lane for public bus. "We should replace the minibuses with double-deckers to ensure best use of the roads and reduce traffic pressure."
Sarwar Jahan, a professor of Urban and Regional Planning Department at Buet, said flyovers only can shift the traffic pressure from one point to another.
He said the government should focus on the mass transit system like Mass Rapid Transit and Bus Rapid Transit that are crucial for alleviating traffic congestions.
On October 26, the much-awaited 8.7km Mouchak-Moghbazar flyover was fully opened to public with the just-completed around 4km Malibagh-Rajarbagh-Shantinagar section, aiming to ease traffic congestion and ensure better road communications in the capital.
The Tk1,219 crore flyover was built on 311 single piers along the central line of the existing roads with 50 ramps.