Bhurungamari Pateshwari Rail Bridge is now a death trap

The instructions of the Roads and Highways Department are not being followed

The instructions of the Roads and Highways Department are not being followed

The Pateshwari rail bridge in Bhurungamari, Kurigram, has become a source of imminent danger due to the persistent violation of weight restrictions imposed on heavy vehicles. The aging bridge, constructed around 1887 with an estimated lifespan of 100 years, is now facing a severe risk of collapse, especially with the constant passage of overloaded trucks. This report aims to shed light on the critical situation and the potential consequences if immediate action is not taken.

Despite a clear ban on vehicles carrying more than 10 tonnes of goods, heavy trucks with double loads continue to traverse the fragile Pateshwari rail bridge. The Road and Highway Department has installed signboards indicating the weight limit, but these warnings are being blatantly ignored, posing a significant threat to the safety of the bridge and the people using it.

The steel deck of the bridge has been repeatedly compromised due to the excessive weight of vehicles, resulting in frequent collapses. This has led to prolonged traffic jams on both sides of the bridge, affecting not only vehicular traffic but also causing significant hardship for pedestrians. The potential catastrophic failure of the bridge could sever road communication for approximately 50,000 residents of Bhurungamari Upazila and force the closure of the Sonahat land port.

Truck drivers have reported that stone-laden trucks from the Sonahat land port, weighing between 30 to 32 tons each, are causing the bridge to tremble. Normal trucks can carry about 400 to 600 cubic feet (CFT) of stone, while drum trucks can transport approximately 500 CFT, equating to loads exceeding the recommended limit. The estimated weight of these loads ranges from 20 to 30 tons, posing a significant risk to the structural integrity of the bridge.

Atiqul Islam, Assistant Director (Traffic) of Sonahat Land Port, acknowledged the issue and emphasized the need for urgent attention. Nazrul Islam, Executive Engineer of Kurigram Roads and Public Ways Department, confirmed the age of the bridge and acknowledged instances of deck collapses due to heavy goods transportation. Notices prohibiting the movement of vehicles exceeding 10 tons have been posted on both sides of the bridge.

  1. Strict Enforcement of Weight Restrictions: Authorities must ensure rigorous enforcement of the ban on vehicles carrying more than 10 tonnes of goods, implementing penalties for violators.
  2. Regular Inspection and Maintenance: Regular inspections of the Pateshwari rail bridge should be conducted, and necessary maintenance and repairs should be promptly carried out to prevent further deterioration.
  3. Community Awareness: The local community should be made aware of the potential risks associated with overloading, encouraging their cooperation in adhering to weight restrictions.
  4. Emergency Preparedness: Emergency response plans should be in place to address any unforeseen incidents, ensuring the safety of residents and travelers in the event of a bridge failure.

This report serves as a call to action to address the urgent concerns surrounding the Pateshwari rail bridge and prevent a potential disaster in the Bhurungamari region. Immediate attention and decisive measures are essential to safeguard lives, infrastructure, and economic activities dependent on the bridge.


পাঠকের মন্তব্য