Under debris of fallen bridge,worries about the Chinese way of doing things

A 330-foot-long section of a ramp of the 9.6-mile Yangmingtan Bridge in Harbin dropped 100 feet to the ground with four trucks,resulting in three deaths and five injuries.

Written by New York Times | Published: August 26, 2012 1:25 am

One of the longest bridges in northern China collapsed Friday,just nine months after it opened,setting off a storm of criticism from Chinese Internet users and underscoring questions about the quality of construction in the country’s rapid expansion of infrastructure.

A 330-foot-long section of a ramp of the 9.6-mile Yangmingtan Bridge in Harbin dropped 100 feet to the ground with four trucks,resulting in three deaths and five injuries. The bridge had cost 1.88 billion renminbi,or $300 million.

Questions about materials used for construction and whether the projects undertaken in the past few years were well engineered have been the subject of national debate since a high-speed train plowed into the back of a stopped train on July 23 last year in Wenzhou. The crash killed 40 people and injured 191; a subsequent investigation blamed in particular flaws in the design of the signaling equipment.

According to Xinhua,the Yangmingtan Bridge was the sixth major bridge to collapse since July 2011.

Chinese officials have tended to blame overloaded trucks for the collapses,and did so again Friday.

Many in China have attributed the recent spate of bridge collapses to corruption,and online reaction to the latest collapse was scathing.

“Corrupt officials who do not die just continue to cause disaster after disaster,” said a post on Sina Weibo,a microblogging service.

Another user was more laconic,remarking,“Tofu engineering work leads to a tofu bridge.”

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