POOR maintenance as well as other problems have been identified as possible factors leading to the deterioration of the Stinson Pde and Fletcher Rd bridges.
The two bridges in Suva were closed indefinitely last Friday after a Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) assessment labelled both bridges death traps to the travelling public, and that it was a catastrophe waiting to happen.
FRA general manager change Mike Rudge said poor maintenance, construction problems and the quality of concrete used to build the bridges could be factors in the two bridges' literal downfall.
"For the Stinson Pde bridge, the amount of concrete cover on top of the steel may or may not have been as designed while the quality of concrete coming from the construction site and the mix of aggregates may be another problem," Mr Rudge said.
He said for the Fletcher Rd steel bridge, the effectiveness of galvanising and anti-corrosion treatments on the steel was clearly a problem.
"All these things combining could be the reason for the state the bridges are in now."
Mr Rudge said the two bridges should have a life of 50 to 100 years however, both bridges were estimated to have been in existence for no longer than 30 years.
"Superficial inspections of bridges should be done every two years followed by thorough checks every five to 10 years, and if issues were found, the frequency of checks should increase," he said.
Suva City Council special administrator Chandu Umaria said the council only maintained the handrails, footpaths and roads on the bridges. He said this was an exercise conducted every year.
"The Public Works Department takes care of the structural inspections because we do not have the expertise and I'm sure they do it annually," Mr Chandu said.
Meanwhile, the SCC revealed yesterday that government would shoulder the cost of replacing the bridges with the bill expected to run into the millions.