Bridge declared abandoned over a decade ago still in use
Although it was declared abandoned over a decade ago, the bridge on the main canal of the Ganges-Kobadak (GK) Irrigation Project on Kushtia-Pragpur road in Bheramara upazila is yet to be removed and there is still no initiative to replace it with a new one. Vehicles are plying over the bridge taking an immense risk.
According to the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) in Kushtia, the bridge was built in 1962. The bridge is 63.785-metre-long and 10.25-metre-wide. It was declared abandoned in 2009. Cracks appeared in a part of the bridge in 2014. At that time, part of the crack was repaired with patchwork.
When the concrete collapsed on the east side of the bridge in 2015, Kushtia RHD built a narrow steel bailey bridge on the damaged part of the bridge. Although the arrangement was supposed to be a temporary one, it is still in place. The bridge trembles, when vehicles pass through it.
Due to the narrowness of the bridge, two rows of vehicles cannot simultaneously cross the bridge.
Truck driver Motaleb Hossain said they feel the bridge trembling while climbing crossing the bridge.
"The bridge is a lurking danger and big accidents can happen anytime here especially when heavy vehicles move through it," the trucker said.
Mahabul Hasan Rana, president of the District Truck and Tank Lorry Workers Union, said vehicles cannot cross the bridge smoothly. When one passes, the other has to stand on the other side.
Bheramara Upazila Parishad Chairman Akhtaruzzaman Mithu said the bridge needs to be reconstructed soon.
"How much risk the vehicle will take and for how long? The RHD should take immediate action in this regard," he said.
Pius Kumar Sen, sub-divisional engineer of RHD in Kushtia said the bridge construction project has not been approved yet.
He said that they have been trying to pass the bridge development project every fiscal year over the last six years but to no end.
"I submitted the project again in March this year. As far as I know, it may not be passed," the official said.
Sakirul Islam, the executive engineer of Kushtia RHD, said the project of the bridge has been submitted to the Roads Department through Khulna RHD Zone. From there it was sent to the ministry.
He said that it is probably not in the first list of the ministry's verification and selection.
However, efforts are being taken to include it in the list, he added.