Bangladesh

Damaged bridge passes a year without repair

Thanks to the indifference of the authorities, a bridge in Jhenidah Sadar upazila has been causing sufferings to thousands of locals for a year now.

The bridge is on Jhenidah-Narikelbaria road in Baliadanga village of Kalicharanpur union.

With a gaping hole in a significant area and no guardrail on either side, the bridge poses hazards for all, especially for young children. Moreover, asphalted layer of a ramp of the bridge is damaged so severely that three-wheeled vehicles run the risk of overturning while getting on or off the bridge.

Locals said thousands of inhabitants in four unions -- Kalicharanpur, Ghorshal, Furshandi and Dogachhi -- use the road and over the past year, many passersby and vehicles got into a number of accidents on the bridge.

While talking to this correspondent, Pintu Shikdar, a member of Kalicharanpur Union Parishad (UP), said about one lakh people from the four unions and around 1,500 vehicles use the road every day on an average.

Accidents on the bridge are quite frequent and unless it is repaired urgently, ambulances carrying critical patients as well as vehicles of other emergency services -- such as the fire service and police -- may get into a fatal accident any moment, he also said. 

Battery-run auto-rickshaw driver Saddam Hossain said while it is very difficult for two vehicles to steer clear of the hole on the bridge and at the same time give way to each other, many vehicles flip over on the damaged ramp of the bridge.

Abed Ali, a trucker who frequents the road, said as the hole turned the bridge narrow, it now takes too long for vehicles in both directions to take turn and cross it.

Besides, without guardrails on its sides, it is really difficult for a driver to keep the vehicle from falling off the bridge, he added.

Contacted, Kalicharanpur UP Chairman Motiur Rahman said he would soon communicate with the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) in Jhenidah Sadar upazila and urge them to take necessary steps in repairing the bridge. 

Ahsan Habib, the engineer at LGED in Jhenidah Sadar, said their estimations of the bridge's repair work have already been submitted to the authorities concerned.

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