The bridge on the Dhaleswari river at Charabari in Tangail Sadar upazila lies in a vulnerable condition as earth got displaced from one of its approach roads due to heavy rain for the last few days and increasing current on the river.
The bridge on Charabari-Torabganj road connects five unions of the char areas in the western part of the district.
Hundreds of vehicles, including heavy ones, and thousands of people of Katuli, Hugra, Kakua, Mahmudnagar unions in Sadar upazila and Bharra union in Nagarpur upazila move on the bridge every day.
The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) constructed the bridge in 2006 for developing road communication between the district headquarters and the char area.
But the west side approach of the important bridge was damaged several times due to floods and heavy rain after its construction. Every time, the authorities did temporarily repair work by felling sandbags.
As a large portion of the approach road was damaged last year, authorities set up a Bailey bridge in one side on it for continuation of vehicular movement there.
Sumon Dewan, former chairman of Katuli union parishad (UP), said the approach of the bridge was damaged as the river has changed its course due to filling of its west side with sand, which increased the pressure of current in the east side.
Locals alleged that a section of influential people having political clout continued illegal sand extraction from the river near the bridge during the dry season for the last few years, which is another reason behind the repeated damage.
Iqbal Hossain, chairman of Katuli UP, said over one lakh people of char areas take their crops, vegetables and other products to different places, including the district town, by different vehicles, including heavy trucks, through the road.
"If steps are not taken immediately, the bridge can see further damage, disrupting communication with the char areas and causing sufferings to the people. The local lawmaker, upazila parishad chairman and upazila nirbahi officer were informed about the matter," he said.
Shahjahan Ansary, upazila parishad chairman in Tangail Sadar, said he has already informed the Water Development Board (WDB) and LGED of the matter and told them to take immediate steps to protect the bridge. He also emphasised taking permanent measures to repair the damaged portion and protect the bridge.
Md Sirajul Islam, executive engineer of WDB in Tangail, said LGED constructed the bridge and so, they will take measures in this regard.
AKM Hedayet Ullah, upazila LGED engineer in Tangail Sadar, said, the damaged deck of the Bailey bridge has been temporarily repaired for continuation of vehicular movement.
Necessary steps with the coordination of WDB will be taken for repairing the approach road when the river water recedes, he said.