RAWALPINDI: Amid persistent heavy rains, a retaining wall along Grand Trunk Road, recently renamed Potohar Avenue, adjacent to the under-construction Soan Bridge, collapsed on Sunday morning.
This incident resulted in three heavy machinery pieces tumbling hundreds of feet down the road beside Leh Nullah, causing injuries to three individuals.
The National Highway Authority (NHA) and the contractor, National Logistic Cell (NLC), attributed the collapse to a ‘landslide’ caused by the heavy rains.
However, local officials have raised concerns about the quality of the wall’s foundation, noting that it was constructed by a previous contractor and may not have been adequately reinforced.
An official from the district administration reported that the retaining wall showed inadequate foundation work, leading to its collapse during the rain-triggered landslide.
The wall suffered damage on multiple sides, and the incident also caused cracks to appear on the main road, while a detailed incident report has been requested from the executing agency and the contractor.
The NHA spokesperson, Umair Khan, stated that the responsibility for repairing the collapsed wall falls on the contractor.
As per the details, the NLC was assigned the project to reconstruct the G.T. Road from Kutchary Chowk to Rawat. Until the construction work is completed, the NLC is responsible for repair work.
Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha took note of the incident and directed the traffic police to close the road to heavy traffic until repairs were finished.
He emphasized that the contractor cited the wall’s weak foundation as the reason for its inability to withstand the landslide caused by heavy rain over the past two days.
The collapse of a retaining wall on Potohar Avenue, coupled with ongoing construction on Soan Bridge, has led to severe traffic disruptions.
Traffic on both lanes, which was already impeded by bridge construction, has been directed to one side of the road, causing difficulties for commuters.
The recent incident is not the first safety concern in the Soan area. Earlier, a pillar and girders of the under-construction bridge over the Soan River collapsed, resulting in months of reconstruction work.
Coordination among the Punjab Highway Department, NHA, and other authorities is deemed essential, particularly during the rainy season, to ensure traffic flow and prevent such incidents.
Besides, the Residents of housing societies between Rawat and Kutchary Chowk, as well as commuters, have expressed frustration over the sluggish pace and poor planning of construction projects in the area.
Projects, including bridge extensions and service roads, have faced repeated delays, now likely to extend into 2024 due to monsoon-related construction disruptions.