The railway bridge at Mareer Hassan has become dangerous due to carpeting and reconstruction of Benazir Bhutto Road several times in the past, stated Divisional Engineer Railways Inamullah while talking to this correspondent here on Wednesday. To a question, why the railway officials stopped the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) staff from carpeting the road under the bridge, he stated that the civic body was not following the Highway Code, which was otherwise mandatory while implementing any project.
Elaborating, the divisional engineer stated that the height of the railway bridge should be 16 feet according to the Highway Code. However during the last three to four years, the height of the Mareer Hassan railway bridge has reduced by 1 feet and 4 inches because of carpeting and reconstruction of the road under the bridge. As the height of the bridge has become less than 16 feet, big vehicles touch the bridge while passing through Mareer Hassan.
According to him, the matter was brought into the notice of the City District Government officials, including the commissioner and DCO, by the railway authorities time and again asking them to rectify the problem. He said that the Divisional Office of Pakistan Railways had also asked the RDA either to abide by the Highway Code or install ‘height gauges’ near Mareer Hassan Chowk prohibiting big vehicles from passing under the bridge. “However, instead of acting on our proposals, the RDA refused to do so saying that it is not the task of the RDA,” he added.
According to him, the railway authorities had installed ‘height gauges’ several times in the past, which were removed by big vehicles. He said that the railway authorities stopped the RDA staff from carpeting the road under the bridge to prevent further reduction in height of the bridge with the carpeting of the road. To a question, the divisional engineer stated that unless the Highway Code is followed, the road under the bridge could not be constructed and would remain in the present state. “If RDA wants to carpet the road, it has to follow the Highway Code,” Inamullah reiterated.
When approached for comments in this regard, Commissioner Zahid Saeed said that the RDA would be directed to dig the road under the bridge before carpeting it to maintain the height of 16 feet. The work on this part of the road would be carried out in four to five days, the commissioner said. When this correspondent tried to approach RDA Director General Makeen Shahbaz on his mobile phone for comments on the issue, he did not respond.[The News]