Thirteen Bailey bridges over different rivers on important roads in the district have become severely damaged, causing accidents and disrupting road communication.
The bridges are Ananda Babur bridge, Kachukatar bridge, Duhuli bridge, Kurar Par bridge and Hafezia bridge on Nilphamari-Jaldhaka road, Auliakhana bridge on Jaldhaka-Domar road, Modhupur bridge on Saidpur-Taraganj road, Bahagli bridge on Kishoreganj-Taraganj road, Gomnati bridge and Motukpur bridge on Domar-Chilahati road, Thutardanga bridge on Sutibari-Sardarerhat road, Ramganj bridge on Ramganj-Mirganj road and Tinbot bridge on Domar-Bhadur Darga road.
Roads and Highways Department (RHD) set up the bridges on temporary basis 20 to 30 years ago as replacement for the old concrete bridges built in the British and Pakistan eras, which were damaged due to natural calamities like flood, and also during political unrest.
District RHD Sub-Assistant Engineer Noor-e-Alam Sidiquee said Bailey bridges are usually set up as interim measures until a permanent concrete bridge is made, and are capable of bearing a load of 10 tonnes at most.
Ignoring the rules, trucks carrying 50 to 60 tonnes of goods cross the bridges, making them risky, he added.
On Tuesday, the front wheel of a 10-wheeler truck loaded with 50 tonnes of rocks got stuck between two displaced steel plates while crossing the Duhuli Bailey bridge, snapping communication for four hours, said Kachukata Union Parishad Chairman Abdur Rouf.
Tenganmari College Principal Mahabubuzzaman Riton said a motorcyclist was severely injured when he fell from the Hafezia bridge 15 days ago as its plates were displaced.
Duhuly bridge, Hafezia bridge and Auliakhana bridge were damaged during the political unrest in 2013 and 2014, said Md Moniruzzaman, sub-divisional engineer of RHD in the district.
District Executive Engineer of RHD Hamidul Islam said the condition of the Bailey bridges was very bad, adding that his department has put up warning signboards on both ends of the bridges, asking heavy vehicle drivers not to carry loads of more than five tonnes.
“We've called a tender to build four new concrete bridges at Hafezia, Duhuli, Kochukata and Ananda Babu areas, and we will do so for other bridges soon,” he added.