Roads and Highway Department (RHD) restricted vehicular movement on one of the four lanes of First Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge in the capital’s Postogola since yesterday evening as a crack developed on it after being hit by a rescue ship.
The bridge was closed to traffic from 9:00pm.
The crash took place when Prottoy, a salvage ship of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), was going towards Sadargahat launch terminal from Narayanganj to rescue the capsized launch in the Buriganga River.
The ship could not eventually cross the bridge due to river swelling and returned to Narayanganj.
“We have suspended vehicle movement as a severe crack developed at a portion of the bridge. We will take further measures after our experts visit the site tomorrow [Tuesday],” Sabuj Uddin Khan, additional chief engineer (Dhaka Zone) of RHD, told The Daily Star.
At least 32 dead bodies were recovered after a launch hit and sank a smaller launch near the terminal yesterday.
BIWTA chairman Commodore Golam Sadeq, however, said the crack was not that serious.
“Actually the master of the salvage launch wanted to reach the accident spot as early as possible. So, he might have made the mistake,” he told The Daily Star.
As the salvage ship could not reach the spot, they were carrying out the rescue operation using alternative methods, the BIWTA chairman said.
Sabuj Uddin said they have visited the bridge and found signs of damages on its girder, which is an important part of the bridge. He said the lane, which was blocked, was on Dhaka-Mawa route.
“After tomorrow’s visit with experts, if we find that more lanes are needed to be closed, we will do that for the sake of the bridge,” he added.