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Bridge collapse sparks uproar   2012-08-28 08:07:00
Tensions were rising Sunday from people anxious to hear an answer as to why a bridge collapsed in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, killing three people and injuring five.

More than 2 million posts on Sina Weibo had discussed the collapse by Sunday as the incident became a hot topic over the weekend.

Most of the posts speculated as to why the bridge collapsed within a year of opening and questioned whether corruption was involved in the bridge's construction process.

Baiseen, a company established in 2000 and which monitored the construction of this collapsed bridge, was ordered to restructure itself in 2008 after Harbin conducted a credit evaluation within the industry, the Oriental Post reported.

The bridge is 3.5 kilometers away from another bridge, Yangmingtan, and the two bridges were built separately, Huang Yusheng, a deputy secretary-general of the Harbin government, told reporters on Saturday. He added that seven experts dispatched to the city by the central government had started their investigation and would provide the result as soon as possible.

Yangmingtan bridge, although currently undamaged, had a track record of accidents during construction. In September last year. six workers were injured as a side beam slid off while being connected to the main structure, according to People's Daily Online.

Huang said the city has kicked off an inspection of all bridges and their weight-bearing capacity after he said on Friday that the cause of the collapse may have been down to overloaded trucks.

Dan Danhui, an associate professor at the Center for Bridge Safety Tests at Tongji University, told the Global Times that it will take a month to give an all-around result of the incident, looking into design, construction, inspection and traffic control.

"If the trucks were overloaded as reported, that would be breaking traffic law, but it also teaches us that the industry should consider these circumstances more in their designs. Overloading vehicles is commonplace in China," Dan said.

The bridge is part of a 14.9 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) investment into the construction of the city's third-ring road. The speed limit on the bridge was 40 kilometers per hour, according to the website of Heilongjiang Development and Reform Committee.

Collapsed bridges have become worryingly frequent in China. Earlier this month, a bridge collapsed in Guangchang county in Jiangxi Province, killing two and injuring two. Another incident this month in Dalian, Liaoning Province killed six, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

"As China experienced a decade of fast-speed construction, it has entered a dangerous period since corruption in public infrastructure projects is becoming an open secret," Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, told the Global Times.
source : People's Daily Online     editor:: alice
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