The Kaikyachara Bridge that connects Bijoynagar and Madhabpur upazilas has remained severely damaged for months now, causing distress to locals and hampering the movement of traffic.
A chunk of concrete, as wide as eight feet, collapsed at the western end of the 12-feet wide bridge in the first week of February, just over two months after authorities repaired a similar collapse at the eastern end, complained locals.
In a temporary fix, authorities laid a steel plate on the damaged part so that vehicles could ply the 30-feet-long and 12-feet wide bridge.
Locals, however, say they are scared to cross it as it poses a risk of accident.
During a recent visit, this reporter saw the rickety bridge quivering when a tractor was crossing it.
Mehedi Hasan, a tractor driver, said they collect sand from areas adjacent to Harashpur Railway Station and transport to four to five neighbouring villages by crossing this bridge.
“We risk our lives every day as the bridge sways up and down under the weight of the tractor. It has become a death trap.”
Manju Miah, a pick-up van driver, said, “Just the other day, the wheels of my pick-up van got stuck between the exposed rods. I had to ask a group of students nearby to help push the van forward.”
Rifat, a resident of Nidarabad village, said locals complained to the local Union Parishad (UP) chairman Sarwar Rahman when a part of the bridge collapsed two months ago.
“I have raised this issue strongly in the last two monthly Upazila Parishad meetings. But we are yet to see any repairs,” said the UP chairman.
Popy Akhter, a student of Dharmaghar Degree College, said she was gripped by fear every time she crossed the bridge.
There are three honours colleges and a government high school in Madhabpur.
Vehicles like rickshaws, CNG-run auto-rickshaws, tractors and pick-up vans ply the bridge that connects the Mirzapur-Harashpur-Madhabpur road.
This is a vital bridge for the people of Bijoynagar, a remote upazila under Brahmanbaria district. The bridge is their only means of contact with the more developed Madhabpur upazila under Habiganj district.
People from fifteen villages of Bijoynagar upazila, which includes Mirzapur, Paikpara, Bagdia, Panchgaon, Sonamura, Nidarabad, are now facing a risk of accident.
Seasonal vegetables and fruits like lychees, mangoes and guavas grow aplenty in Bijoynagar. These are transported to markets in neighbouring upazilas using this bridge as well.
When contacted, Bijoynagar UNO Meher Nigar said that she was aware of the unsafe condition of the bridge.
“I will take steps after I speak with the authorities concerned.”
LGED upazila engineer Jamal Uddin said he visited the site and a letter to higher authorities, along with photos of the damaged bridges.