Opinion

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Safety flaws on highways not acceptable

Published: 00:00, Feb 19,2020

 
 

INEFFECTIVE road safety measures found in the 55-kilometre Dhaka–Mawa–Bhanga four-lane stretch of the highway, set to be inaugurated in March, point to either apathy or lack of efficiency of the implementing agencies. The Accident Research Institute has found the lane divider of the stretch of the highway, believed to become one of the busiest highways once it is opened, ‘faulty’ with features that can cause accidents. The Accident Research Institute carried out the investigation after a fatal accident that took place at Sholghar of Sreenagar in Munshiganj on November 22, 2019 and left nine dead. The gap between the safety barrier and the divider is found to be way more than usual. While the barrier edge and the lane divider should be parallel to enable the barrier to absorb the highest amount of shock, the investigation finds that the barrier has been set up about 10 inches inside the divider on locations feared to be causing accidents and there are no road signs, markings and speed limits on the highway up to Hashara in Munshiganj. Such faults may add to accident risks and take a heavy toll.

The gap is found, as New Age reported on Tuesday, to be about 20 inches along the Hashara filing station and about 15 inches along the Ekuria stretch in Dakshin Keraniganj. While road signs, markings and speed-limit marks are not adequate, non-motorised and slow-moving vehicles run along the stretch, not using service roads. All these point to a chaotic scene on a highway stretch that is to become a high-speed, busy road. The Roads and Highways Department, one of the two implementing agencies, seeking to say that it would conduct an audit of the highway before its inauguration and would act accordingly does not sound convincing as there is little time left before the inauguration and motorised, non-motorised and slow-moving vehicles have already started using the stretch in breach of the character of a high-speed highway. The authorities concerned should not ignore engineering and design flaws and the lack of effective safety measures that contribute to road accidents, which leave 14 people dead on an average every day in Bangladesh.

The authorities concerned must, therefore, immediately conduct an inspection and correct the flaws in the road lane dividers of the highway before further unwarranted incidents take place. Engineering or design flaws in other roads, flyovers and bridges, some of which have made the headlines in the past, must also be attended to seriously and immediately.

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