The authorities this morning opened the Shahbazpur Bridge on Dhaka -Sylhet highway, which was closed due to its dilapidated condition, in a bid to reduce the pressure on roads after a train derailment effectively cut off Sylhet’s communication with the entire country including the capital.
The Shahbazpur Bridge on the Titas river in Brahmanbaria district was declared shut six days back after railings on the fourth span of the already dilapidated bridge broke off on June 19.
Vehicles, mostly goods-laden trucks, were seen using the risky bridge since 8:00am, our Brahmanbaria correspondent reports quoting Executive Engineer of Roads and Highways Division (Brahmanbaria) Shamim Al Mamun.
The bridge is being supported by at least forty iron pillars but continues to rattle and shake due to pressure of the vehicles, the correspondent said.
A train derailment in Moulvibazar’s Kulaura last night left four passengers dead and suspended rail movement on the Dhaka-Sylhet route.
Meanwhile, the severely damaged Shahbazpur Bridge was temporarily fixed and opened only for Dhaka-bound trucks from Sylhet, which remained stuck on the highway following the closure of the bridge six days back, the official said.
A red-flag, indicating danger, was hoisted on the bridge to alert commuters of the risk, the official said.
Owing to the pressure of vehicles on both sides, the authorities took the decision to allow Dhaka-bound trucks to cross the bridge, the correspondent said.
Once the route becomes free, the authorities will open the bridge for the vehicle heading for Sylhet from Dhaka.
On the other hand, the under-construction bridge that was being built right next to the damaged Shahbazpur Bridge is expected to be open for public use by July 1, Project Director Rabiul Alam was quoted as saying.
Authorities have also prepared the western bank of the Titas river for plying of ferry as the Shahbazpur Bridge may be rendered unfit for use any time.
Owing to the shutdown of the bridge, buses and other vehicles on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway have been forced to use alternative routes that go through local village roads to reach their destinations.