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Two Bridges Collapse in China Within 24 Hours

By Chen Jinghui
Epoch Times Staff
Created: July 16, 2011 Last Updated: July 20, 2011
Related articles: China » Society
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Large pieces fell out of the Third Qianjiang River Bridge in Hangzhou in the early morning hours of July 15, 2011. (Weibo.com)

Large pieces fell out of the Third Qianjiang River Bridge in Hangzhou in the early morning hours of July 15, 2011. (Weibo.com)

Parts of two bridges in different areas of China have spontaneously collapsed within 24 hours, causing many injuries and killing one. Both bridges are less than 15 years old, and local people expressed concern over China’s “shoddy” construction in recent years.

A moving tour bus filled with tourists plunged off the northern end of Wuyi Mountain Bridge, which crosses over the Chongyang River in China’s Fujian province, when one third of the bridge suddenly collapsed around 8:50 a.m. on July 14. The bus driver was instantly killed and 22 people were injured, including the tour guide, who suffered serious injuries.

Mr. Yang, who was working near the bridge area, told The Epoch Times that he and others rushed to the scene after they learned of the accident.

“Tourists covered in blood lay scattered all around. It was a truly tragic scene,” Yang said. Many police cars and ambulances soon arrived, and the scene was cordoned off, he said.

Yang also wondered how such a big and fairly new bridge could just collapse like that.

One third of the Wuyi mountain bridge in Fujian province collapsed on July 14, 2011, causing a full tourist bus to fall off the bridge. The bus driver died at the scene. (Weibo.com)

One third of the Wuyi mountain bridge in Fujian province collapsed on July 14, 2011, causing a full tourist bus to fall off the bridge. The bus driver died at the scene. (Weibo.com)

“It’s a shoddy project,” he said. “In the ancient past, many bridges, built more than a thousand years ago, did not collapse, and some of them are still in use to this day. This bridge, built just over 10 years ago, has already collapsed! Such a [low] quality project makes people feel unsafe,” Yang said.

Mrs. Liu, who was working nearby, said the area is near a scenic tourist location, and the bridge was the only transportation route from the city to the tourist area. There was no indication of an impending collapse; it just happened abruptly, she said.

A medic from the Wuyi Mountain Municipal Hospital said there were a total of 23 people on the bus. The bus driver was killed instantly. The other 22 tourists, including the tour guide, were hospitalized. Most suffered bone fractures and external injuries.

The Wuyi mountain bridge was inaugurated on Nov. 20, 1999 and was in service for less than 12 years. It was 301 meters long and 18 meters wide, and was designed by the Fujian Communication Planning & Design Institute and constructed by the Fujian Forestry Engineering Company. The bridge was an important traffic hub connecting mountain resorts and scenic spots in the Wuyi area.

Second Bridge Collapse

A BMW got stuck in a hole in the Third Qianjiang River Bridge in Hangzhou at 2 a.m. on July 15, 2011.  (Weibo.com)

A BMW got stuck in a hole in the Third Qianjiang River Bridge in Hangzhou at 2 a.m. on July 15, 2011. (Weibo.com)

The very next day, on July 15, pieces of the Third Qianjiang River Bridge in Hangzhou fell out in the early morning hours.

A Mr. Hong was driving on the bridge in his BMW at 2 a.m. when he noticed a gap in the roadbed in front of him, about 1 meter wide and 6 to 7 meters long (approximately 3 by 20 feet). Though he immediately stepped on the brake, the front part of his car still dropped into the hole and got stuck. Hong then called the police.

While Hong was on the phone, a 26-wheel tractor-trailer passed by and also hit the hole, causing the trailer part to break off and the front of the vehicle to fall over onto the approach bridge, and then plunge to the ground below.

According to the report on Zhejiang Online, the driver of the tractor-trailer jumped out of the vehicle. He was sent to a hospital for treatment of injuries.

A heavy tractor trailer plunged over the side of the Third Qianjiang River Bridge in Hangzhou after hitting a huge hole where parts of the road bed had dropped out on July 15, 2011. (Weibo.com)

A heavy tractor trailer plunged over the side of the Third Qianjiang River Bridge in Hangzhou after hitting a huge hole where parts of the road bed had dropped out on July 15, 2011. (Weibo.com)

The Third Bridge of the Qianjiang River was opened for service on Jan. 28, 1997. The main part of the bridge is 1,280 meters long, with approach bridges on both sides adding another 4,420 meters.

Shoddy construction of school buildings caused the deaths of thousands of school children during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The problem is said to be embezzlement of building funds and materials by corrupt officials, which is widespread.

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