A huge number of people, especially patients and office-goers, suffered all day long on Tuesday as vehicular movement on the Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge 1 over the River Buriganga at Postogola in Dhaka was suspended for indefinite period.
The bridge remained closed since Monday 9:00pm as cracks developed after a rescue ship hit the bridge on the day.
Patients were seen crossing the bridge between Postogola and Keraniganj with the help of others while office-goers were also seen crossing the bridge on foot to reach office on time as none were aware about the closure of the bridge.
Elderly people, women and children were also seen struggling to reach their destinations as they had to cross the bridge on foot.
The vehicles on the route were asked to use the 2nd Buriganga Bridge at Babubazar as an alternative.
On Tuesday evening, work for protection of the four-lane bridge started.
Earlier on Monday the rescue ship of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority hit the bridge while it was on its way to Farashganj from Narayanganj to rescue a launch that capsized in the river which left at least 34 people dead.
The ship was forced to stop as it failed to cross under the Buriganga 1 Bridge, locally known as Postogola bridge, as it was too high to do so.
The ship hit one of the girders of the bridge.
Roads and Highways Department Dhaka zone additional chief engineer Md Sabuj Uddin Khan said that at the outset on Monday they stopped the movement of vehicles on one of the four lanes towards Keraniganj at 6:00pm and later at 9:00pm they stopped the movement of all vehicles on the bridge as the damage was severe.
On Tuesday around 11:00am, a huge number of people were seen crossing the bridge on foot after getting down from vehicles at two ends of the bridge.
An elderly patient was seen crossing the bridge with the help of two young people.
Another sick person, Md Habib, said that it was very difficult to cross the bridge on foot in his condition.
Only two or three CNG-run vehicles were seen crossing the bridge with patients who showed papers to the police members deployed at two points of the bridge.
Office-goers alleged that they were not aware of the closure of the bridge and it was not possible for them to go by Babubazar Bridge as they needed to reach office on time.
Chief engineer Sabuj Uddin Khan told New Age that on Tuesday morning they visited the bridge with experts to find out the exact damage done to the bridge.
‘On Tuesday evening we have started protection work on the bridge while the main repair work will start later,’ he said.
He further said that the work on the bridge was in progress and they would resume vehicular movement on two lanes — Postogola-Keraniganj and Keraniganj-Postogola — by Tuesday night.
No trucks, however, would be allowed on the bridge, he added.
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