At least 14 people died in 2012 when a girder of the under-construction flyover collapsed on them
Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) Mayor M Rezaul Karim Chowdhury has blamed the city’s development authorities for the cracks on the pillars of MA Mannan Flyover in the Bahaddarhat area which was closed to the public on Monday.
The cracks developed due to construction defects, the mayor said while inspecting the spot on Tuesday morning.
“The flyover was constructed by the Chittagong Development Authority (CDA). We will write to the CDA seeking immediate action,” he said.
The mayor recalled that 14 people had been killed when a girder collapsed in 2012.
The Bahaddarhat flyover was built when the Awami League’s Chittagong Metropolitan unit Finance Secretary Abdus Salam served as the CDA chief.
The Tk145-crore flyover, designed to ease traffic, has become a death trap with city planners and engineers long arguing that the flyover is prone to accidents due to systematic errors in construction and lack of proper supervision.
“The cracks could have occurred for two reasons: one is a design defect, the other is a construction defect,” said CCC Chief Engineer Rafiqul Islam.
He added that while the exact reason could not be determined yet, the overloaded vehicles contributed to the cracks.
“I spoke with MAX, the company involved in the construction, and found that the ramp was not in the original design. It was extended later,” he said, before adding that the flyover most likely had design flaws.
Meanwhile, CDA Executive Engineer and MA Mannan Flyover Project Director Mohammad Mahfuzur Rahman claimed that there was nothing wrong with the design of the flyover ramp.
He said that the constant movement of heavy vehicles on the flyover had caused the cracks in the pillars.
“It is not suitable for heavy vehicles. Initially, heavy vehicles were obstructed at the entrance of the flyover. We don't know who opened this barrier,” he said.
The CDA official claimed: “Even if a crack occurs, there is an opportunity to repair it. For this, the traffic on the ramp will have to be stopped for a few days. And, it will be reformed with the cooperation and advice of Buet experts.”
He added that there was an opportunity to repair the cracks and it would be done in consultation with experts from Buet (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology).
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of the MA Mannan Flyover project which extends from the Shulakbahar area to the One Kilometer area of Bahaddarhat.
The flyover was inaugurated three years later on October 12, 2013, after the completion of construction work under the supervision of the Bangladesh Army.
Even before its formal inauguration, the Bahaddarhat flyover witnessed a series of accidents.
On June 29, 2012, a girder between pillars 21 and 22 of the Bahaddarhat flyover collapsed, injuring a rickshaw puller.
Following the incident, the CDA formed a probe committee to look into the matter. They blamed the incompetence of the contractor and recommended a five-point action to prevent such accidents in the future.
However, the CDA did not take the recommendations into account and the contractor continued work without following the recommendations.
The biggest accident on the flyover while under construction was reported on November 24, 2012 when 14 people died after a girder of the flyover collapsed on them.
The 130 feet long girder weighing nearly 80 tons fell directly on 14 people killing them on spot and injuring 50 more.