Footbridges or underpasses are few and far between considering the size of the population and the fast expanding area of the city. But the story about this limited number of the structures and their use is interestingly quite long.
First let us dwell upon their number and location. Probably at only a handful of spots of the metropolis there are more than one such structure at short intervals. The Chairmanbri-Kakoli point on the Airport Road is one such spot where at least three footbridges have been set up, and quite reasonably considering the pedestrian pressure there.However, other than these fortunate locations, one will have to walk miles together to find a bridge or underground passage to cross a road safely. Look at the Gabtali and Mahakhali bus terminals and such other places, thousands of people are crossing busy roads every moment risking life for shortage or lack of footbridges. But, interestingly, there are some footbridges at spots where those are not necessary and remain unused. Only authorities can explain the reason behind their construction at those isolated spots.
Now let us consider who are supposed to use them and who are actually using them. Footbridges and underpasses are meant for pedestrians to cross roads. But most of our pedestrians have the epic record of avoiding them. Even, an accelerator at Banani failed to attract them to the bridge. However, there is no dearth of undesirable elements like muggers, eve-teasers and drug addicts that are very keen in making use of the structures for their respective purposes.
Let us now come to the issue of maintenance of the footbridges. Construction and post-construction maintenance are two integral parts of anything. Regular inspection of them is also necessary to make them long-lasting. But very often authorities concerned are found to be quite unconcerned about their maintenance. Two photographs of a footbridge at the city’s Shahbagh area that this daily printed on its front page yesterday are enough to validate the point.
What are narrated above are the general aspects of these structures but people of a locality may have to say a lot more about a particular footbridge or underpass. City fathers should give a patient hearing to what they have to elucidate.