Published:  01:12 AM, 10 September 2017

Those highway tailbacks

The constant traffic gridlocks in the nation's capital keep our nerves on edge all the time. Despite every effort to make life easier for citizens, nothing has happened to convince us that better days are ahead. And even as we worry about such conditions, there is that other road issue we must consider seriously.

News comes in of a 20-kilometre tailback on the Dhaka-Tangail highway. Traffic police and others have given us to understand that the chaos has been generated as a result of holiday makers returning to the capital from villages and towns outside the city. No one questions their assessment of the situation, but the point is one of why well-formulated measures are not taken to minimize the sufferings of those forced to spend hours on the highways in such unhealthy conditions.

This issue of long tailbacks frequently makes headlines. With a planned management of traffic on the highways, the problem can be quite easily handled. There was a time when we used to speak of highway police patrols being active in their movements. Where have they gone? Those patrols, together with local policemen as well as community policemen, can prevent gridlocks on the highways from taking place by making traffic move in segments and in disciplined manner.

At present, what happens is a mad race by bus and truck drivers to reach their destinations. That results in driving on the wrong sides of the highways, thus blocking traffic movement on both sides. It is here that stern measures are needed. And they can be there if the traffic authorities take charge of the highways, at least at peak times.

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