The LDA’s chief engineer was of the view that maintenance and repairing of roads, flyovers, overhead bridge and other development projects earlier was responsibility of LDA but now the same was assigned to the Road Department of CDGL since last year.
However, he said that he took charge of this post in the current year so he was unable to justify the matter that why the former Chief Engineers of LDA overlooked the maintenance or routine repairing work of the overhead bridge.
On the other hand, former LDA Chief Engineer Abdul Rab while Talking to TheNation said that the matter was not in his knowledge. However, he admitted that earlier it was the responsibility of the department to look after all the projects of LDA after completion.
As far as the condition of the overhead bridge is concerned, gaps among the joints and blocks of the bridge are increasing day by day; cracks in various parts are appearing; and the bumpy steal joints displaced and visible deep holes can be witnessed, which are being overlooked by the authorities concerned and might lead to any mishap in near future.
In this regard, the commuters complained that the surface of the bridge was uneven and the authorities concerned never focused on maintaining level of the road of the bridge.
The LDA completed the Garhi Shahu Overhead Bridge in 1998 with a promised life of at least 100 years while the project was taken up as a so-called fast tracked project by the LDA. The National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) built the bridge as a contractor company of the LDA at a cost of Rs290 million, which had developed cracks only after seven years of its construction whereas the old bridge existing at the place had lasted for 150 years.
Although the project was completed in a short period, however, the experts at the very outset criticised the quality of work of the project. However, the LDA has been directed to hold an inquiry into the defective construction of the bridge and close it for heavy traffic till its complete repair.
The then Punjab Chief Minister Ch Pervaiz Elahi and the District Nazim Mian Aamer Mehmood ordered the inquiry during the inspection of the bridge and directed the LDA officials to submit the repair estimate of Rs30 million for approval and ensure the quality of repair work.
Meanwhile, NESPAK offered free of cost repair work of the bridge. The CDGL also proceeded against the officials responsible for ignoring lapses in the construction of the bridge.
An expert of Engineering Wing of the LDA, on the request of anonymity, said that all mega projects needed proper site investigation, cogitation by experts and road users to decide final route or location and then execution through technical experts instead of bureaucrats.