Monday, January 21, 2019

Pedestrians at risk as footbridge disappears from key Dhaka road

  • Obaidul Masum,
    Published: 2018-04-26 14:49:26 BdST


Pedestrians suffer as the footbridge near Shewra bus-stop on Airport Road has been removed without any alternate arrangement for crossing the road to make room for the ramps of elevated expressway.

People are now forced to jaywalk across the Airport Road—one of the busiest roads in Dhaka.

Commuters from different areas, including Baridhara DOHS, Shewra, Joar Sahara, Kuril and Kalachandpur use the Shewra bus-stop as a hub to commute in different directions.

The footbridge was seen removed although stairs on both sides existed when the reporter visited the site on Wednesday.

Locals said the authorities have begun removal of the footbridge since Monday.

Shafiqul Islam, a makeshift shopkeeper at the bus-stop, said the removal work takes place at night.

Commuters were seen waiting on both sides of the busy road or jaywalking, putting their lives at risk.

Some drivers were also seen slowing down allowing people to jaywalk.

“It is so risky to cross this wide road on foot with fast-moving vehicles and high road dividers,” said Jaane Alam who has been awaiting long to cross the road with his daughter.

“But we have no other options. They should have arranged alternate means to cross the road,” said Alam, a resident of Kalachandpur.

Shajahan Saju, a resident of DOHS, said accidents could happen any time on the road, especially at night when visibility is low.

Zakir Hossain, a resident of Joarsahara, said he went all the way to Kuril Bishwa Road for crossing the street to avoid the risk although it took much longer time.

No traffic police officers were present on the scene when people crossed the road.

A deputy inspector of traffic at Shewra bus-stop said they had no clue about the removal of the pedestrian bridge while also admitting it is very hard for people to cross the road, especially for old people, women and children. He mentioned that traffic clogs due to the stream of jaywalkers.

The bridge had been set up by the Roads and Highway Department.

Engineer Synthia Azmeri Khan of the department said it has been removed to make room for the construction of Dhaka Elevated Expressway and will be replaced by another bridge to be built near Banarupa Residential Area.

“Initially we thought of building the new footbridge in the MES, but had to change the plan shifting it to Banarupa as the army has taken up a project to construct an underpass there,” she said.  

“Another footbridge will be built 50 metres away from the site of the old bridge,” said Dhaka Elevated Expressway Project Director Kazi Mohammad Ferdous.

“We thought of constructing the new bridge before removing the one at Shewra; however, construction work for the elevated expressway has begun earlier, compelling us to remove the bridge.”