Replace broken

People continue to suffer as five collapsed bridges still need to be rebuilt

At least 30 other bridges are at risk of collapse

September 17, 2022, 09:55

Last modification: September 17, 2022, 10:19 a.m.

A total of five dilapidated bridges have collapsed in Noakhali over the past two years, disrupting communication with district and upazila towns and posing accident risks. Residents say at least 30 other bridges are at risk of collapsing. Photo: TBS

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A total of five dilapidated bridges have collapsed in Noakhali over the past two years, disrupting communication with district and upazila towns and posing accident risks. Residents say at least 30 other bridges are at risk of collapsing. Photo: TBS

Thousands of people continue to suffer in Noakhali after at least five bridges collapsed over the past two years, disrupting communication with district and upazila towns and posing threats of accidents.

At least 30 more bridges are at risk of collapse as bridge reconstruction initiatives move at a snail’s pace, residents of Begumganj and Kabirhat upazilas say.

Residents said, considering the suffering of thousands of people, it is necessary to rebuild the broken bridges and repair the damaged ones as soon as possible.

Daily travel is hampered in the affected areas as important establishments including educational institutions and markets are on both sides of the broken bridges. Vehicles and young children cross these bridges at the risk of accidents.

On May 7 this year, the dilapidated Hasanhat Bridge in Eklashpur Union of Begumganj Upazila suddenly collapsed as a van carrying sand drove across it, injuring the driver and his assistant.

With the fall of the bridge, the residents of Sharifpur, Newajpur, Eklashpur and Kadirpur were cut off from the Maijdi district town and surrounding areas.

Four bridges over the Chaparashi Canal in Kabirhat Upazila collapsed a year and a half ago. As a result, there is no end to the suffering of people from three unions, including Char Elahi and Dhansalik.

Md Ikramul Haque, Executive Engineer, Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Noakhali, said, “Most of these bridges are quite old and their lifespan is over. We have gathered information on the bridges that have collapsed and posed risks, and informed higher authorities. We have already obtained permission to rebuild some bridges and their construction will begin gradually.

According to LGED, most of the riskiest bridges are in Begumganj Upazila, Noakhali Sadar Upazila and Hatiya Upazila. LGED officials said another list of at-risk bridges will be prepared after the end of the rainy season.

The Firingi Bridge near the district town is one of the most vulnerable bridges under threat of collapse. Although the LGED has banned the circulation of heavy vehicles on the bridge, thousands of people, small vehicles as well as heavy goods vehicles, are still moving there.

Habibur Rahman from Newajpur union says this bridge is the most convenient way from Sadar district to the eastern part of the district. Thousands of small and large vehicles and many people use this bridge every day.

A few days ago, the LGED posted two notices on either side of the bridge regarding the banning of large vehicles on the bridge, but the drivers did not obey them at all. When heavy goods vehicles (trucks, covered vans, passenger buses) cross the bridge, the bridge and stores on both sides shake, he added.

Executive Engineer Md Ikramul Haque said approval for a new bridge to replace the Firingi Bridge has already been received and work is expected to start soon.