Bridges on the Faujdarhat-Baizid Bostami link road in Chattogram have become risky for traffic due to erosion of soil by heavy rain in absence of retaining walls.
There are six bridges on the road, and more than a foot of the road on the west side of the bridge no 5 has been eroded by rainwater.
The Chattogram Development Authority (CDA) built the six-kilometer road cutting 16 hills. The hills have often been collapsing on it since the construction began.
The soil on both sides of the bridges has been washed away as the construction company did not build the retaining walls.
Earlier on 8 June, the CDA, which constructed the link road, suspended traffic on it for three months terming it dangerous.
CDA chief engineer Kazi Hassan bin Shams said the retaining walls next to the bridge were not constructed as there was no allocation for that in the previous budget.
A development project proposal (DPP) has been sent, seeking allocation for construction of the retaining wall, he added.
CDA constructed the link road without environmental clearance from the Department of Environment (DoE). It has also not determined what kind of damage may occur to the environment once the project is implemented. Later, the DoE accused them of violating the hill management plan and fined them Tk103,829,553 in two phases.
CDA cut 10.30 lakh cubic metres of hill for the construction of this road. But even then, as the road was risky, the company applied to the DoE in March 2020 to cut another 3.32 lakh cubic metres of hill. The CDA has not yet received the approval.
The project was undertaken in 1997. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved it in 1999 at a cost of Tk33.81 crore. In 2004, 55 acres of land were acquired.
Work on the road had started at Faujdarhat with the construction of overbridges on the rail tracks. At that time, the government allotted land to the Asian University for Women (AUW) for construction of its own campus in the same place. Facing the objection of the university authorities, the road construction work was stopped, leaving the whole project abandoned.
After a while, the CDA was able to convince the government that the project was important and the work resumed.
This time the construction cost was increased to Tk210 crore from Tk33.81 crore. In 2015, Spectra Engineers Limited got the work order. Later, the cost was reduced to Tk172 crore.
But due to various complications, the cost was further revised upward and it stood at Tk320 crore. The road was opened to traffic in 2020.