U-turn for the convenience of traffic movement cannot be an effective solution for Dhaka city as it will create massive gridlock during the peak time, said experts.
Besides, the U-turn project is not pedestrian friendly system, leaving no solution for pedestrians to cross the road, they said.
Professor Md Shamsul Hoque from the civil engineering department of BUET, told Bangladesh Post, “U-turn in no way an effective solution for a mega city like Dhaka. It will be a counter-operative during the peak-hours. However, it will work in a premature city, where there is fewer traffic.”
“The traffic police can play a role when people want to cross the road at busy times, but there is no opportunity for pedestrians to cross the road in this U-turn system,” said Shamsul Hoque, also the Director of Bureau of Research, Testing and Consultation (BRTC).
“Those who have formulated this plan [u-turn] to implement it for this city, do not know the science of traffic management. When a city become large, U-turn system become counter-productive as huge number of traffic coming from other direction [relatively slow speed] create a massive gridlock,” he added.
Professor Dr Md Hadiuzzaman, Director of Accident Research Institute (ARI) of BUET also said that U-turn project will be ineffective for left maneuver roads like ours. He suggested making separated U-loop for Dhaka to resolve the traffic congestion.
He told Bangladesh Post, “All the vehicles of our country run on left side of the road and stop on the left side. U-loop ring converts left maneuver or left diverging vehicle. So there is no problem if we construct U-loop. But U-turn creates problem as our vehicles do not stop at the right side.”
Dr Hadiuzzaman also said, “We have to build pair-wise [face to face or back to back] grade-separated u-loop. Then, we will get a corridor solution here. It is possible to reduce traffic congestion by 70 to 80 percent by U-loop.”
“We can build U-loops in two ways. One is overpass [like Badda U-loop]. There is no need for a pillar in the middle. We can also make underpass U-loop,” he added.
About the cost of U-loop, he said, “It will cost nearly Tk 150 crore to build each U-loop, adding, ‘Currently, Tk 150 cr is being lost everyday due to traffic jams in Dhaka city which was Tk 101 crore in 2018.”
Meanwhile, Dhaka North City Corporation recently opened up three U-turns from Tejgaon shat rastha to Uttara Jasimuddin Avenue under the 11 U-turns Construction Project.
After opening these U-turns, it has been observed that traffic congestion in these areas has increased instead of decreasing.
The traffic police on Monday opened different intersections of these areas for two hours, to test the effectiveness of the U-turns. With the opening of these U-turns, it has been noticed that only one vehicle can pass through the narrow U-turn.
“The road has become narrower than before due to U-loop. Vehicles coming from three to four lane sides and going through only one lane. As a result, it creates more gridlock,” Rafiqul Islam, a bus driver of Balaka Bus Service told Bangladesh Post.
In this regard, the Project Director and Superintendent Engineer (Additional) of DNCC, Khandakar Mahbub Alam, said, “Out of 11 U-turns, six have been launched so far including three new ones. This problem [traffic congestion] will be reduced when all the U-turns are launched together.”
The original approved cost of the 11 U-turn project was Tk24.83 crore but the first revised estimated expenditure stood at Tk 31.81 crore.