Most of the upper surface of a nearly completed bridge over the Buri Teesta River at Soillaghat in Dimla upazila under the district had to undergo repair as the contractor used low quality materials for the construction work, said officials.
The Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED) in the district decided to construct the 171-metre-long and 5.12-metre-wide bridge over the Buri Teesta River at a cost of Tk 4.14 crore to facilitate easier road communication between Dimla and Domar upazilas in the district.
After tender process, the work was given to contractor Joinal Abedin of Saidpur and local lawmaker Jafar Iqbal Siddiquee inaugurated it on April 12 of 2009.
The work was scheduled to be complete by June 30 last year but the contractor failed to meet the deadline and the work is still going on, albeit at the final stage.
However, the repair work is causing further delay in the work.
During a visit to the site on March 18, this correspondent found that the wearing course (upper surface) in most part of the bridge was removed as the contractor allegedly used below standard materials in building the bridge surface. It was also found that a segment of the bridge that was repaired a week earlier was encircled with bamboo sticks.
Locals alleged that at first cracks on the bridge surface were found on three of the nine slabs of the bridge but within two weeks serious cracks were found in all the nine slabs as the wearing course was broken up.
Consequently, the LGED directed the concerned contractor to remove the affected parts for quick repair.
Contacted on March 18, Shyamapada Ghosh, upazila engineer of Dimla, said, “After repair on three slabs one week ago, we found that wearing course of rest six slabs was in vulnerable condition. So, we directed the contractor to remove it from entire bridge surface and repair it as per schedule.”
When contacted, Executive Engineer of LGED in Nilphamari Abul Kalam Pramanik said, “The contractor concerned used low quality materials like pea gravels for making the wearing course. Our superintending engineer during a recent visit detected the irregularities and asked the contractor to follow the schedule by removing low quality material. So the contractor broke the wearing course. He is now repairing it with prescribed stone chips.”
He said there were no cracks in the bridge.
“Damage of the wearing course indicates that there were mismanagement and irregularities in construction of the bridge. I have discussed the matter at upazila coordination committee meeting this month,” Aftabuddin Ahmed, upazila chairman of Dimla, told this correspondent a few days ago.
Contacted, contractor of the bridge Joinal Abedin claimed that no crack developed on the bridge.
“There were mistakenly some ‘pea gravels’ (round stone) in the wearing course of the bridge. It is a minor mistake that can be overlooked. But higher LGED officials asked me to remove the wearing course and reconstruct it with stone chips. I am following their instruction although it will increase the construction cost,” he said.
Courtesy of The Daily Star