Officials in charge of road construction in Xiangxi prefecture, Hunan province, will face criminal charges in connection with a major bridge collapse in Fenghuang county in August that killed 64. A total of 24 officials and company executives, including Xiangxi Prefecture Bureau of Road Construction head Hu Dongsheng, who is also the chairman of the construction company in charge of the project, have been transferred to judicial departments for criminal investigations, China Central Television reported yesterday, citing a State Council circular. The collapse of the 328-metre arched stone bridge once again underscored rampant disregard for quality control and work safety in key infrastructure construction. The bridge, which collapsed two weeks before it was due to be completed, was built with little fortified concrete and reduced to rubble in minutes, injuring another 22. Villagers and investigators accused authorities and the bridge's developers of forging ahead with the project despite serious problems so that it could open in time for the 50th anniversary of the founding of Xiangxi prefecture, which administers Fenghuang. In a report submitted to the State Council earlier this month, investigators blamed the incident on grave dereliction of duty, management irregularities and quality problems, forcing Hunan governor Zhou Qiang to make a public self-criticism before Premier Wen Jiabao at a briefing on the collapse on December 7. Without giving details, investigators found Xiangxi prefecture's disgraced head Du Chongyan should be directly held to account over the incident. The State Council has also ordered authorities to assess whether corruption was a factor in the collapse and, if so, bring those implicated to justice.