People have continued using a bridge on the Jhinai river at Dapnajor in Basail upazila although the structure has turned highly risky after subsidence of its pillars about two months ago.
Strong current during the recent floods also washed away the approach road of the bridge on one side but locals set bamboos on the damaged portion to make it somehow usable for going to different places as there is no alternative nearby to cross the river.
However, vehicular movement is totally closed there.
Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED) constructed the bridge in 1998 and people of at least 15 villages including Aisora, Akdhala, Dohar, Dapnajor, Deolee, Joshihati, Hakimpur and Morakoi in the upazila use the bridge to go to different places including Tangail district headquarters, Karatia market and Government Saadat College.
AK Bijoy, a rights activist in Basail, said a span of the bridge collapsed during the construction work due to use of low quality materials.
“The bridge was completed with low quality work. And it gradually faced risk of collapse as earth beside the pillars was washed away in the last few years due to indiscriminate sand extraction near the bridge with powerful dredgers,” he added.
Several locals including Shafiqul Islam, Parvez Ahmed, Manju Miah and Alam Miah said mindless sand lifting near the bridge by influential quarters contributed to making the bridge vulnerable.
The sand extraction also caused erosion in the nearby villages and over 100 dwelling houses and a local Eidgah went to the riverbed in the last few years, they said.
The authorities concerned have not taken any effective step to close the risky bridge, said Shahidul Islam, a local schoolteacher.
Contacted, Rozdid Ahmed, upazila engineer of LGED in Basail, said the damaged bridge was already declared abandoned.
“During a recent visit to the area, I told the chairman and members of local union parishad to take necessary steps to stop people’s movement on the bridge. Tender process is underway to construct a new bridge there,” he said.