National highways have notorious accident black spots which are yet to be fully fortified, with only one day remaining to meet the June 30 deadline for the renovation work, posing a potential threat to homeward Eid trippers.
The roads and highways department has failed to wholly overhaul all the 144 identified black spots on five highway networks under Dhaka, Sylhet, Comilla, Khulna, Barisal, Gopalganj, Rangpur and Rajshahi zones.
To renovate and develop accident spots, the government undertook a Tk 165-crore two-year project styled ‘Improvement of Road Safety and Black Spots on National Highway’ that began in July 2014.
Under the project, the authorities were supposed to widen roads, improve intersections, reduce sharp bends, build hard shoulders, dividers and central reservations, and install road signals and rumble strips.
However, work on the hazardous spots moves slowly due to varying features of individual spots, problems of land acquisition, shifting and fund shortages.
The project is due to finish in June 2016.
Seeking anonymity, an official concerned said it may take one more year more to two implement the project.
Meanwhile, road safety specialists have been calling for state measures to curb crashes on risky points amid growing road fatalities in recent years.
Prof Moazzem Hossain, director of Accident Research Institute at Buet, spoke up for the state agency’s implementation of road safety-related projects on a priority basis.
Accidents during Eid rush may fall if the project to improve dangerous spots is ended before Eid, the transportation and traffic system expert told daily sun.
Work finished on renovating only 28 out of 144 black spots as of June 22, said coordinator of the project Subodh Kumar Sarkar, also the additional chief engineer (technical services wing) of the RHD.
There is a possibility to renovate 12 precarious spots by June 30. Work is also going on other spots at a stretch, he said.
“We can provide a progress report on the project work after June 30.”
About hostels for drivers, Prof Moazzem said, “Hostels for drivers should be built at bus terminals for rest. A driver shouldn’t drive non-stop over four hours. Most drivers can’t sleep properly for lack of such sleeping facilities.”
Back in 1998 and 2007, ARI and RHD separately identified 209 and 18 hazardous points respectively on 10 national highways.
According to the ARI, most of the highway casualties occur on the identified spots as no road signs caution motorists about blind curves or other obstacles.
RHD road safety wing solved 27 risky highway points between 2008 and 2014.