The end to the unbearable traffic jams in the Gabtoli-Aminbazar area – one of the busiest entry points to the capital Dhaka – is in sight as the work of the eight-lane bridge beside the existing four-lane Aminbazar Bridge is progressing steadily.
The physical work for the bridge started in February 2021, and it is scheduled to open for traffic in February 2023.
With the construction of the bridge, the 12 lanes in total will facilitate massive traffic, giving travellers relief from long tailbacks which occasionally stretch up to Hemayetpur in Savar.
The Roads and Highways Department (RHD) is implementing the project at a cost of around Tk245 crore funded by the government.
"The two bridges together will address the unbearable traffic jams in the Aminbazar-Gabtoli area," said Md Sobuj Uddin Khan, additional chief engineer for the RHD.
He said the road in front of the Gabtoli Bus Terminal at the Dhaka end of the Aminbazar Bridge is 10 lanes. But the existing Aminbazar Bridge has only four lanes. Severe gridlocks are created at the entrance of the bridge when traffic from 10 lanes rushes into four lanes.
The situation worsens on special occasions such as Eid festivals. Vehicles heading for the country's northern and western districts are stuck for hours, rendering a four-lane bridge next to the existing four-lane one necessary to reduce traffic congestion, he said.
Furthermore, the proposed "Dhaka Inner Circular Route" will pass over the approach road at the Gabtoli end of the existing Aminbazar Bridge.
Therefore, an additional four-lane bridge will be required for the vehicles coming and going on the circular route, he explained.
Sobuj Uddin said there is a four-lane bridge in the Salehpur area at Aminbazar. Adjacent to it, there is a big bazaar.
"So people and different kinds of vehicles including slower ones pass through the bridge making their movement slower," he added.
To cater to all kinds of vehicle movement, the RHD is building another four-lane bridge named the second Salehpur Bridge next to the existing bridge under the same project.
"After completion of the project, there will be no traffic jam, especially at Gabtoli, and the overall average speed of vehicles will increase on the route. The minimum speed of vehicles will be 60km per hour," said Md Maruf Hasan, sub-divisional engineer and project service director.
Till now, the physical progress of the project is 16.50%, he said, adding that afterwards, around a 2km approach road will be built on both sides of the bridges.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) passed the project in October 2019.
The existing Aminbazar Bridge and Salehpur Bridge were built in the 1972-73 and 1980-81 fiscal years, respectively.