The residents are worried about losing new blocks every day
The bridge protection dam of Sheikh Russel Kushtia-Haripur Link Bridge is on the brink of collapse, just three years after construction.
The bridge connects Kushtia’s Haripur to its district town. So far, more than 20 rows of 70 blocks along the Madhumati River bank have collapsed, and around 1500 blocks similarly collapsed since the construction.
Upon a visit to the spot this correspondent saw a large hole at the bridge protection dam. Locals are worried that many more blocks will collapse which may eventually lead to the destruction of the bridge. They also demanded immediate steps for protecting the dam by placing geobags under the blocks.
Visiting, locals pointed out to this correspondent that no geobags have been placed under the blocks, which were placed for protecting the bridge from collapse. The blocks were only placed on a synthetic layer of the sand of the river which caused the collapse of the blocks within three years of the construction of the bridge.
Nearly a month ago, a crack developed at the 100 meter mark of the bridge at Haripur point and since then the concrete blocks are going one after another inside the river, putting the bridge at risk of collapse.
At the same time, the stairs along the banks of the river, which was made for the people who want to take a swim on the river along 80 meter within the bridge, also collapsed.
According to the sources, the Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED) constructed the Sheikh Russel Bridge linking Kushtia-Haripur area in 2017 and opened it for public use.
On December 22, 2013, a contractor firm named Akhtar Associates got the task of constructing the 604 meter long, 6.1 meter wide bridge.
Zahidur Rahman Mandal, executive engineer of LGED, Kushtia, said they have sought the services of a special team to repair the protection dam of the bridge. “But no response has come yet, which caused the delay.”
Asked about why the protection dam collapsed within three years of its construction, Zahidur said “The reason will be known once the special team visits the site.”
Primarily they suspect that a dredging machine of the local Water Development Board, which remained stranded at the collapsed point for three days, might be the reason for the collapse.
This government official also claimed that geobags have been placed on a two-meter area of the river bed while 1.5 meter area along the dam.
Mohammad Aslam Hossain, deputy commissioner of Kushtia, said the authorities concerned of the Water Development Board and LGED have been asked to take steps to avoid any further damage of the bridge.