• Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020
  • Last Update : 07:52 pm

Risky Shahbazpur bridge reopens hours after Kulaura train crash

  • Published at 02:01 pm June 24th, 2019
File photo of trucks pass through risky Shahbazpur bridge Dhaka Tribune

Earlier in the day, four people were killed in after a culvert over the Barochhara Canal broke

Hours after a train derailment killed four people in Moulvibazar, authorities opened up a road bridge on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway that was closed to traffic for the past six days due to its dilapidated condition.

Executive Engineer of Roads and Highways Division (Brahmanbaria), Shamim Al Mamun, said: "The bridge (Shahbazpur Bridge) was opened around 11am on Monday to ease traffic pressure.

“However, red-flags have been hoisted on both sides of the bridge on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway so that overweight vehicles do not get on it."

"Vehicles that weigh more than 22 tons, especially trucks, will not be allowed to cross the bridge. Police have been deployed on the spot to oversee vehicular movement on the bridge," he added.

On June 19 the Titas river bridge in Brahmanbaria's Sarail was closed after railings broke on a span of the dilapidated bridge.

The bridge was temporarily fixed and opened to traffic amid risks. All kinds of vehicles, including goods-laden trucks, were seen using the risky bridge on Monday morning.

New bridge long overdue

Built in 1963, the 250-metre plus long Shahbazpur Bridge witnessed widening and modernising for the National Highway-2 (Dhaka-Sylhet) many times, but over the years the bridge drew little attention from policy planners for proper maintenance and replacement.

Passengers who frequent the route said that for nearly a decade they have been finding the old bridge in a precarious condition with signs of caution posted on both sides of the bridge, urging people to drive slow and prohibiting its use by vehicles with heavy loads. 

A senior roads and highways divisional engineer, Monir Pathan, who is overseeing developments in the Comilla-Brahmanbaria region, told Dhaka Tribune yesterday that a new bridge has been long overdue as the Shahbazpur Bridge that was badly damaged in the 1971 Liberation War, has been in bad shape for many years.

“But the good news is that we’ve nearly completed construction of a new bridge over the Titas river and hope to open it to traffic in early July,” he said. 

Sources said there was negligence in the new bridge construction and due to faulty design, the bridge construction was delayed twice, adding to the misery of passengers and cargo operators on this important national highway.