This is apropos of Malik Tariq Ali’s letter published in the Pakistan Today on July 01, 2012 regarding collapse of pedestrian bridge constructed on Lahore Ring Road. It is really unfortunate that many of us are quick to comment on issues which technically we don’t understand. A professional having some knowledge of design and construction of bridges and their building structure would only understand that failure is not only due to its workmanship; it may be due to its faulty design or may be due to some forces which were not accounted for during its design.
We need to understand that the pedestrian bridge which collapsed last week comprises pre-cast pre-stressed concrete members. These members are normally cast in a yard and then placed at the required location. These members are designed taking into account live loads, dead load, wind load and seismic factor. These are not designed to take lateral impact as was the case when the protruding boom of the speedy truck hit the girder which resulted in displacement of the girder from its support which inevitably caused collapse of the pedestrian bridge.
The writer further praises the so called good governance of the Chief Minister of Punjab, which I believe is contrary to the factual position. Unfortunately his so called good governance is the root cause of the problem: without understanding the ground realities, he is bent upon completion of eighteen months projects in four months resulting in not only poor quality of work but also a very high cost. Further, the projects are awarded to NLC and FWO on single source basis at exorbitant rates who after keeping a hefty margin further sublet it to sub-contractors, which not only is a gross violation of PPRA rules but is also unethical.
I would further like to emphasise that generally development projects are launched in recessionary time not for setting record times of completion or for self-promotion but to generate instant employment. It should be kept in mind that these projects should be initiated for the welfare of general public and appropriate time should be allotted for their panning and completion so as to achieve a quality end-product.