The construction of the veritable dream highway connecting Dhaka with Chattogram has met a number of basic requirements of the regular travellers. Two years on, with the use of the road in full swing, a few infrastructural gaps still remain to be filled. True, the 4-lane highway has cut people's travel time considerably. In spite of a number of design-related lapses and a few technical, the road operators have been making do with those deficiencies since the highway's opening. But the latest hurdle to smooth vehicular movement caused by the ongoing work on a rail overpass in Feni detracts a lot from the highway's efficacy. The highway travellers now routinely go through the dreaded woes of gridlocks and tailbacks. But infrastructural drawbacks apart, there are insidious problems, too. One of them is the utter nonchalance with which improvised and non-motorised transports ply the highway.
The practice of the reckless use of the 4-lane road might appal highway experts elsewhere in the world. Coupled with this menace, the presence of roadside markets and other establishments continues to expand largely unhindered. In the absence of the enforcement of stringent rules meant for ensuring its smooth operation, many other small and bigger scourges now beset the highway, considered the nation's most vital economic life-line. These hazards have been plaguing the highway since its opening. But when it comes to the proper use of a highway, only one single option lies with the authorities concerned -- zero tolerance. But given the unabated deterioration in the highway's structural and functional states, a stance like this appears a pipe dream. The insidiously increasing force of the menaces is feared to emerge as a potential threat in the future.
The unregulated use of the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway brings to mind the appalling state of the regional and local highways across the country. These roads suffer due to the absence of a modest set of highway traffic laws. The devil-may-care style of using these local highways continues to take a heavy toll on passengers' safety, with fatal road mishaps occurring without respite.
Beside making highway journeys by ramshackle, improvised vehicles hazardous, these transport modes create hindrances to the smooth movement of long-haul and speedy traffic. The former's catalytic role in the creation of gridlocks at critical roundabouts has long been singled out. To the woes of the highway users and operators, especially on the Dhaka-Chattogram 4-lane highway, signs are little that the anarchy which troubles them will subside anytime soon. The present state of the highway dampens the great hopes the prospective highway users placed in the massive project when it took off. Highway experts point the finger at the lack of a proper road management mechanism for the present lackadaisical state of the highway. The bottlenecks and inconveniences should have received due importance during the early phase of the highway's construction. Had those been addressed well in time, the miseries afflicting travellers and road users could be avoided.
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