RAWALPINDI: On Sunday morning, a retaining wall on Grand Trunk Road (recently renamed Potohar Avenue) next to the being-built Soan Bridge collapsed, hurling three large pieces of equipment hundreds of feet down the road down to the Leh Nullah. Three other people suffered injuries.
Read more with EL news: CDA and China Railway to operate light rail transit system
The newly built retaining wall collapsed, and the executing agency National Highway Authority (NHA) and contractor National Logistic Cell (NLC) cited the recent ‘landslip’ caused by severe rainfall as the primary cause. The wall was constructed by the prior contractor, and the commissioner was informed that its base was flimsy.
According to accounts, the retaining wall’s foundation work was subpar, and after a period of severe rain, it fell owing to a landslip, a senior official of the district administration told Dawn. According to him, the wall was damaged on three sides, and after it fell, the main road also developed cracks. He claimed that the contractor and the executing agency had been asked for a thorough report of the occurrence.
It is the contractor’s responsibility to fix the collapsed wall, according to NHA spokeswoman Umair Khan. He stated that NLC was granted the project to reconstruct G.T. Road from Kutchary Chowk to Rawat, and that till the construction project is complete, it will be in charge of the maintenance work.
Officials attribute the incident’s three injuries and chaotic traffic to a “landslip.”
In response to the event, Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha directed the traffic police to prohibit heavy traffic until the repairs were finished. He stated, “The retaining wall was collapsed, and the contractor informed that the foundation of the wall was weak and it could not bear the landslip after heavy rain over the last two days,” as he spoke to Dawn.
The retaining wall was allegedly built by the old contractor, and the foundation was insufficient, according to the information provided to the commissioner.
However, when the previous contractor left the work unfinished, NLC acquired the contract from NHA and would now complete all of the previous contractor’s repairs. Separately, a senior official promised that individuals guilty of negligence would be found and prosecuted.
A view of the wall that fell during a downpour. White Star Traffic Confusion
The incident also caused chaos in the traffic on Potohar Avenue. Thousands of commuters encountered difficulty as traffic on both tracks was diverted to one side of the road, adding to the inconvenience caused by the Soan Bridge construction. More traffic wardens were sent out to control the flow of traffic, but they were powerless.
This accident in Soan is not the first to occur recently. The Soan River bridge was still being built when it collapsed on June 26. It took months to rebuild, and the route had just recently reopened to traffic.
Fortunately, no vehicles were moving when the pillar collapsed from erosion near the beginning of the bridge, leaving a huge crater in its wake.
In order to manage the flow of traffic and prevent any unfortunate incidents, the officials stated that collaboration between the Punjab Highway Department, NHA, and other agencies was necessary, particularly during the rainy season.
It should be noted that the extension of the bridge, parking lanes for the Lahore High Court, and the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Phase-I service road are all ongoing building projects in the region.
The slow pace of work and bad planning have been criticized by commuters and residents of housing societies situated between Rawat and Kutchary Chowk.
They said that the widening of the bridges, which began in 2017, was supposed to be finished in January 2022 but kept getting postponed. It is now anticipated to be finished in 2024 because, according to the concerned officials, the monsoon rains were “hampering the construction work.”