Why Comilla-Sylhet highway fails to withstand the rains

Potholes with yawning gaps greet motorists as soon as they hit the Comilla-Sylhet Regional Highway and it’s a bumpy ride for most of this high-speed corridor.


Thanks to the monsoon rains, the condition of the highway that connects Sylhet with the port city of Chattogram has only worsened, making thousands of motorists face untold misery. As usual, they allege, shoddy road repairs did not last even a month this year andauthorities have now turned a blind eye to their sufferings.


Motorists say the pothole-ridden regional highway, one of the busiest in Bangladesh, not only puts them at the risk of accidents but also damages their vehicles due to wear and tear.


The Comilla-Sylhet Regional Highway is used by hundreds of trucks plying daily from Sylhet to the southeastern part of the country, including the port city. Cargo lorries carrying goods to Agartala in India’s Tripura district through the Akhaura land port also use this corridor. Goods vehicles in hundreds also use this road to reach at least 15 districts of the country.


Local residents of Debidwar and Muradnagar say that road repair work is carried out every year, before the monsoon, but because of usage of sub-standard materials to macadamize the stretch, the corridor crumbles within a month.


“Authorities often close one of the two lanes of the road in the name of road repair work, giving motorists a harrowing time, as it triggers massive jams on the highway. This has been the trend for the past so many years,” said a local resident.


Also, road repair work in Jafarganj, Kangshanagar, Mainamati Cantonment and Companiganj areas of the highway have been going on at a very slow pace for the past one year.


Abul Kalam, a bus driver, said he has been experiencing inconvenience on the regional highway for the past 15 years. “Sometimes the road is repaired, but it does not last even a month. This road needs to be concretised as many overloaded vehicles use it.”


Khokon Mia, a resident of Debidwar upazila, said substandard materials were used to repair the roads. “Also the accumulation of rain water creates potholes on the road, causing further inconvenience to commuters,” he said.


When contacted, Dr Md Ahad Ullah, executive engineer of Comilla RHD, attributed the damage to the highway to overloaded vehicles plying on the stretch on a daily basis. “The road cannot carry excess load. The entire stretch needs to be rebuilt,” he said.


Claiming that repair work is currently underway, he said, “The entire stretch will be repaired once the rainy season is over and before the next monsoon.”


Source: United News of Bangladesh