Lack of proper maintenance of Wah Garden Bridge endangering motorists

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Potholes on the G.T. Road at the Wah Garden Bridge inconvenience commuters. — Dawn
Potholes on the G.T. Road at the Wah Garden Bridge inconvenience commuters. — Dawn

TAXILA: The lack of proper maintenance of the G.T. Road on the Wah Garden Bridge has made it a hazard for car and motorcycle drivers, particularly at night time.

Large potholes on the road make it difficult to travel and cause frequent accidents, especially after sunset when visibility is lower. Many vehicles are damaged because of the potholes as well.

The lack of a drainage system on the road also leads to the accumulation of rainwater, worsening the situation and increasing the likelihood of accidents.

According to frequent road users, every year the National Highway Authority allocates millions of rupees on paper for the maintenance of the road, but its condition shows that these funds are not utilised judiciously.

Local resident Bashrat Mehmood said his brother fractured his leg when his motorcycle slipped while he was driving through the potholes on the road. He said these potholes had endangered the lives of hundreds of motorists who use the road every day.

Adnan Malik, an advocate and human rights activist, said that the lack of maintenance by the NHA was causing hardship and inconvenience for commuters. He said the pads and axels of the bridge through which the road passes are out of order and need to be replaced, while the NHA keeps filling the potholes and re-carpeting the road when the potholes appear.

Mr Malik said that the situation will remain the same until the pads and axels are replaced.

“These issues do not need to be solved with rocket science. Frequent repairs around the year could be avoided if the authorities spend on constructing the bridge properly,” he said.

Hundreds of trailers and dumpers, loaded with crushed stones, sand and cement, pass over this bridge, Dr Saeed Ahmed said. Dr Ahmed, who heads a local NGO, said that re-carpeting the road after some time would not resolve the problem for commuters, and the money spent on temporary solutions would only drain public funds.

The Wah Saddar police station receives many applications about disputed road accidents on the bridge, Station House Officer Mohammad Rafeeq told Dawn.

He explained that a driver cannot stop his vehicle when the vehicle in front of him brakes suddenly because of a large pothole. This situation results in accidents and vehicle damage, causing losses of millions of rupees.

“This part has had the highest recorded number of incidents between vehicles in the Wah-Taxila section during the last few months,” National Highway and Motorway Police official Ayub Khan said.

He said that a number of motorcyclists have also been injured due to the road’s poor condition. The concerned NHA authorities have been informed of the road’s dilapidated condition many times, he added, and their action is awaited.

When contacted, NHA Deputy Director Maintenance Sabahat Ahmed Chaudhry confirmed that the bridge’s pads and axels were damaged and needed to be replaced in order to resolve the issues of the G.T. Road on the Wah Garden Bridge permanently.

He said the maintenance department sent a proposal and plan for their replacement, but it has not been approved for many years. The re-carpeting project is being approved and was carried out a few months ago, he added.

To another question, he said filling potholes and re-carpeting the road has been approved and work in this regard would be initiated in the next few weeks.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2020