LAHORE – Faulty design and substandard construction caused collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Lahore Ring Road near Harbanspura on Thursday, engineers and architects say.

Contradicting claims of the construction company that the structure had completed its three-year life, engineers said that decades-old bridges in the City were still intact and effectively catering to the requirements of pedestrians.  Terming immediate arrest of Khalid Rauf unjustified, they said that a thorough probe was required as officials concerned, contractor and consultant were equally responsible for the incident.

“There was hardly any load on the bridge because it was rarely used. Erecting a huge concrete structure with enormous load for pedestrians is always dangerous. Its collapse puts a question mark over the design and quality of construction. The circumstances suggest that ether the design was faulty or the bridge was not constructed as per the approved plan,” said an engineer who wanted not to be named.

The engineer further said that the chief architect of the Communication and Works Department, the construction company and NESPAK should be questioned by experts to determine the real cause of the accident.

“The construction company prepared the design and the same would have been examined by the Communication and Works Department and NESPAK. The experts should examine the approved design and gather information from the site to check whether it was implemented on ground as per the original plan. The use of substandard material is also an important aspect, but it alone could not be responsible for the incident,” he explained.

Answering the claims of eyewitnesses that cracks had developed in the structure, experts said that these could be because of the faulty design and use of substandard material. Referring to the assertions of local people that locks on pillars were broken, engineers said that faulty design could have exerted uneven pressure that resulted in collapse of a major portion of the bridge.