The mayor had blamed the CDA, which built the structure, for the reported cracks
The Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) has claimed that there are no cracks on the pillars of MA Mannan Flyover in the port city’s Bahaddarhat area.
“Our expert team has inspected the area. The cracks that everyone is talking about are not real. There are no cracks on the flyover,” CDA Executive Engineer and Project Director Mahfuzur Rahman said on Tuesday night.
His claim came hours after Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) Mayor M Rezaul Karim Chowdhury blamed the CDA for the cracks, because of which the flyover was closed to the public on Monday night.
The cracks had developed due to construction defects, the mayor said while inspecting the spot on Tuesday morning. “We will write to the CDA seeking immediate action.”
On Monday, a man named Muhammad Mohiuddin posted a photo on a Facebook group named “Praner Chittagong,” which showed a crack in a pillar on the Arakan Road ramp of the MA Mannan Flyover.
Later, the photo went viral on social media. After verifying the authenticity of the post, the police had stopped the traffic on the Arakan road ramp from 10pm on Monday.
However, Mahfuzur Rahman explained: “When a column is cast from a lift to another lift, some false casting gets out from between the joint. The cracks are in the false casting, not the pillars.”
“Since the people are in a panic, we have invited our associates and experts in this project to visit the scene on Wednesday. We will take appropriate action after inspection,” he said.
The Bahaddarhat flyover was built when the Awami League’s Chittagong Metropolitan unit Finance Secretary Abdus Salam served as the CDA chief.
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of the flyover in January 2010. She also inaugurated it in October 2013 after Bangladesh Army completed the construction work.
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.
This was, however, not the first time that cracks have been spotted on this flyover. Even before its inauguration, the flyover had witnessed a series of accidents.
On June 29, 2012, a 130-foot-long concrete girder between pillars 21 and 22 of the flyover had collapsed in Bahaddarhat, injuring a rickshaw puller.
In November that year, at least 13 people were killed when three steel girders collapsed during construction work in the same area.
Later in January 2018, another large crack appeared in one of the ramps linking the flyover -- which extends from the Shulakbahar area to the One Kilometer area of Bahaddarhat.