25pc of bridges in Anhui are in danger of collapse

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 August, 2009, 12:00am

About 25 per cent, or 7,500, of the bridges in Anhui province are in danger of collapse and need to be either repaired or rebuilt, according to a province-wide survey.

Xinhua quoted an unidentified official with the Anhui Transport Administration Bureau as saying that 7,460 bridges, among more than 30,000 in the province, could possibly collapse, and 98 per cent of dangerous bridges were in rural areas.

The official said the administration inspected all road bridges in Anhui after a bridge in northeastern Heilongjiang province collapsed on June 29, killing four people and injuring five.

According to the Beijing-based Guangming Daily, the Work Safety Committee Office of the State Council issued an edict days after the deadly accident requiring regional administrations nationwide to inspect all road and railway bridges, particularly older ones.

Anhui transport officials blamed lax supervision and maintenance for the bridge dangers in the province, plus the fact that a considerable number of the bridges were built in the 1950s and 1960s, and were usually poorly constructed.

The number of rural bridges the survey determined to be risky was greater than the number that were repaired or rebuilt over the past few years, the official said. Another factor contributing to the bridges' deterioration was their use by vehicles exceeding the weight limit.

Xu Jiandong, a transport official in Anhui, said that trucks as heavy as 130 tonnes frequently crossed the Fuyang Bridge in Congyang county, which was designed to handle vehicles weighing only 30 tonnes.

An official with the road transport administration said overloaded trucks belonging to factories in the area that extracted metal ore from rocks frequently crossed the Fuyang Bridge, which also contributed to its rapid depreciation.

Numerous cracks as wide as 5cm and dents measuring more than 10cm have recently been spotted on the Fuyang Bridge.

The bridge, initially designed to be used for at least 50 years when it opened in 1999, is now considered to be one of the most unsafe.

The report added that about 200 million yuan (HK$227 million) would be needed to repair and strengthen 83 endangered bridges along main roads in the province.

Apart from poor maintenance and overloaded trucks, some mainland internet users complained that another main cause of unsafe bridges across the country was what they call 'tofu' construction, meaning unsafe building standards.

In Guangdong, the transport bureau reportedly earmarked billions of yuan in March for the repair and rebuilding of up to 127 bridges it labelled 'dangerous' and 1,481 bridges it called 'unsafe' in the province.

In Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, 113 bridges were earmarked as 'troubled' last month after citywide inspections.