Bridge on Dhaleswari precarious as erosion hits approach road
The approach road of the bridge on Dhaleswari river in Charabari area of Tangail Sadar upazila was badly damaged again due to heavy rains and increased current on the river for the last couple of weeks, leaving the very important bridge precarious for movement.
The bridge on Charabari-Torabganj road connects five unions of the char areas with the district headquarters.
Hundreds of vehicles, including heavy ones, and thousands of people of Katulee, Hugra, Kakua and Mahmudnagar in Sadar upazila and Bharra union in Nagarpur upazila move through the bridge every day.
In 2006, Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED) constructed the bridge for developing road communication between the district headquarter and char region.
However, the approach roads of the important bridge were damaged on several occasions due to floods and rains since its construction. Every time, the authorities prevent the damages temporarily by felling sand bags.
Large portion of the both approaches of the bridge was also damaged during last year's flood and authorities temporarily protected the erosion in the same way.
This year, erosion has hit the east side approach road of the bridge and the LGED has dumped some sand bags again to keep vehicular movement normal on the bridge.
Abul Hossain, a CNG-run three-wheeler driver, however, said although some sand bags were dumped, it is still very risky to get down from the bridge through the damaged approach. "Accident can happen any moment," he said.
Local LGED officials said erosion hit the approach roads of the bridge every year as the river has changed its course due to filling its west side with sand and increased current on the east side.
Local people, however, blamed wrong site selection to construct the bridge and indiscriminate sand lifting near the bridge during the dry season for the last few years as the main reasons for the regular erosion.
Iqbal Hossain, chairman of Katulee union parishad, said over one lakh people of char areas take their crops, vegetables and other products to the different places by different vehicles, including heavy trucks, through the road.
"If steps are not taken immediately, the bridge can be damaged snapping communication with the char areas and causing sufferings to the people," he said.
Asked about the matter, Mohammad Sirajul Islam, executive engineer of Water Development Board (WDB) in Tangail, said they along with senior officials of the district administration as well as local public representatives visited the bridge after the approach road was damaged last year.
"The bridge was constructed on a sharp curve. So, the current of the river strongly hits the approach. The course of the river needs to be straightened at the point to protect the bridge but it will be a private land related complicated issue," he said.
"The LGED has constructed the bridge and they are the authority to do anything about it," he added.
Contacted, AKM Hedayet Ullah, upazila engineer LGED in Tangail, said they have already taken steps to check the erosion and protect the damaged approach road.
"Now there are two options in our hands. One is to construct two more slabs at the two ends of the bridge and also hold protection works on the approaches with concrete blocks. The other is to construct a new bridge in place of the old one," he said.
"We have already sent a proposal to the higher authorities to construct a new bridge there," he added.