Thousands suffer as Dhalai bridge remains damaged
Dhalai bridge in Companiganj upazila of Sylhet has remained damaged for many days, causing distress to locals and hampering the movement of traffic.
A chunk of concrete in the middle of the bridge has collapsed and railings on the both sides of the structure have broken. On the top of that, many potholes have also developed on the bridge.
However, no initiative has been taken to repair the bridge yet despite hundreds of commuters using the bridge risking their lives every day.
The 434.35 metre bridge was constructed on Dhalai River in 2003-06 with an expected lifespan of 75 years and it is the only road connection to hundreds of villages of two bordering unions of the upazila.
The bridge could collapse any time as trucks carrying stone from Bholaganj quarry are also plying the bridge every day. The approach roads on either side of the bridge have remained damaged as well.
Locals alleged that lack of maintenance for years has turned the bridge into a death trap.
Babul Miah, chairman of Purbo Islampur union parishad, said around 30,000 people of three unions use the bridge for daily purposes. Many traders of the unions use the Dhalai bridge for their daily business. Therefore the bridge needs to be repaired.
Visiting the bridge, this correspondent observed that the bridge kept shaking when a stone laden truck crossed over it.
"The bridge may collapse any time if it is not repaired soon." said Shah Mohammad Jamal Uddin, chairman of Islampur Paschim union.
Companiganj upazila Chairman Shamim Ahmed said: "Drivers are driving vehicles over the bridge risking their lives. The bridge should be repaired to prevent accident."
Speaking on the issue, Upazila Nirbahi Officer Sumon Acherjee said: "I have spoken to the executive engineer of Roads and Highway Department (RHD), and he inspected the bridge a few days ago."
Regarding the matter, Executive Engineer Ritesh Barua said: "The bridge was damaged as stone- laden trucks use the bridge. We will set up a steel deck on the collapsed portion."