A portion of the link road of the second Teesta Bridge at the mouth of a small bridge was washed away by strong current while a part of the bridge collapsed at Echli in Gangachhara upazila early Friday.
The bridge and the link road collapsed just two days before the inauguration of the much-hyped bridge, according to UNB.
The sudden breakdown of the small bridge portion and the link road snapped communications of four upazilas of Lalmonirhat with Rangpur.
Locals said the connecting road was washed away due to strong current in the river around 3:30am.
Later, the mouth of the bridge on the link road also broke down.
Meanwhile, the local administration was trying to protect the bridge and the link road dropping sand sacks.
The second Teesta Bridge is scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday through videoconferencing.
Locals alleged that the bridge on the link road collapsed as substandard materials were used for its construction.
They claimed that the contracting firm resorted to various anomalies in connivance with Local Government Engineering Department (LGD) engineers Jakiur Rahman and Parvez Newaj Khan in implementing the project.
They said the engineers who were responsible for supervising the work did not perform their duty properly.
Though the locals protested the irregularities several times, the administration did not pay any heed to this, they alleged.
Locals said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated work on the 850-metre 2nd Teesta Bridge from a rally at Lalmonirhat Colletorate field in 2012.
The construction of the bridge, which was a dream of around five million people of four upazilas of Lalmonirhat and greater Rangpur, was scheduled to end on June 31, 2014.
After extending the deadline thrice, contracting firm M/S Navana Construction completed the work on December 31, 2017 at a cost of Tk 1.24 billion.
It was opened to traffic as per the directives of the Prime Minister before its formal inauguration.
To protect the bridge, 1300-metre river training dams were built on both sides of the bridge while a five-km connecting road on the two sides.
The construction work was monitored by Lalmonirhat LGED executive engineer office while Kaliganj upazila office implemented the construction work.
Locals alleged that it was supposed to be a two-foot layer of clay mud on the five-km connecting road, but construction works were completed using only cobblestone on sand.
Though there were huge irregularities in the construction work, the engineers legalised the work in the exchange for money, they alleged.
However, Manager Prabir Kumar Biswas of M/S Navana Construction denied the allegations of using substandard materials in the construction work, saying they handed over the bridge to the local LGED on completion of its work.
LGED executive engineer SM Jakiur Rahman said the situation was created for the change in the course of the river.
Deputy Commissioner Shafiul Arif said the inauguration of the bridge will be held in time. "The collapsed portion of the road and the bridge will be repaired soon," he added.
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