POST TIME: 3 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Vulnerable bridges put commuters at risk

Vulnerable bridges put commuters at risk

This recent photo shows a vehicle plying on a vulnerable iron bridge at Bottala Bazar in Bhandaria upazila of Pirojpur posing risk of serious accident anytime. Independent photo

Twenty iron (Bailey) bridges on the 38-km Charakhali-Tushkhali-Mathbaria-Patharghata road under Bhandaria and Mathbaria upazilas of Pirojpur district have become weak, posing a risk to buses, trucks and other vehicles running on this route.

The longevity of the bridges is said to be 10 years, but they have been in use for over 30 years now. Some of the bridges have broken down and there was recently a fatal accident. The faults in two of the bridges are still hampering vehicular movement.

Sources in the Department of Roads and Highways (RHD) say that  the bridges along the road under the Pirojpur Road Division were built in 1988. These bridges can carry vehicles carrying 10 tonnes of goods, even though 15–20-tonne trucks cross these bridges daily. Moreover, one truck at a time should cross these bridges, but the rule is often broken at night.

As a result, the bridges are said to have become weaker and buses and other vehicles are now exposed to considerable risk.

In June 2016, a bridge collapsed due to its failure to bear the weight of two trucks at Gudighata in Mathbaria upazila. It has not been possible to rebuild it even today.

Besides, on June 12 last year, the biggest bridge on this road spanning the Madarshi canal was damaged, affecting vehicle movement on six routes of the southern region.

According to information given by the Pirojpur RHD, there are 100 big and small iron bridges under the Pirojpur Roads Division. Of them, 43 are said to have become risky. Among these, 20 are along the Charakhali-Tushkhali-Mathbaria-Patharghata road.

Mohammad Nazrul Islam, executive engineer of the Pirojpur RHD,  told The Independent that all iron bridges would gradually be converted into concrete structures.