DOHA, QATAR: The collapse of Sardaryab Gul Abad Bridge in Shabqadar was a shocking news, killing one and injuring two others. The accident which occurred due to an overloaded truck carrying 1,600 cement bags and weighing 88 tonnes could have been avoided through strict monitoring and surveillance.
Being a geotechnical engineer by profession, I would want to discuss the importance of the historical bridge constructed in 1937 by Braithwaite Burn and Jessop Construction Company connecting Peshawar with Charsadda and Mardan, which is now, unfortunately, in a dilapidated condition.
Monitoring of damaged bridges comes under asset management in infrastructure engineering and records of daily, weekly or monthly monitoring data must be kept so that conditions of the site can be assessed regularly and restoration work can be planned accordingly.
Traffic impact assessment should have also been carried out to ascertain the traffic flow on the bridge and future requirements, while new bridges should have been built while the Sardaryab Gul Abad Bridge should have been restored as a heritage site.
However, after the incident, I strongly suggest the bridge should be restored and rebuilt as a historic asset, which could then be utilised as a potential site for study tours for engineering students and tourists alike. This would also generate revenue for the provincial government, if properly utilised for tourism purposes.
Gul Hameed Khalil
Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2017.