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Chinese 'McBridges' keep collapsing, killing people

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 25th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

One of the longest bridges in China has failed, killing three and injuring five. A 330-foot section of the bridge collapsed on Friday, dropping victims 100 feet to the ground. The bridge had been open only nine months.

HONG KONG, CHINA (Catholic Online) - The bridge, known as the Yangmingtan Bridge, in the city of Harbin, is 9.6 miles long overall. The section that collapsed was built in 2009 and 20010 as part of the country's stimulus program designed to stave off a recession. Chinese citizens are alleging shoddy construction as the culprit. 

The bridge spans the Songhua river in northern China and was built amid a crash stimulus program that prevented the Chinese economy from dipping while the rest of the world suffered crippling recession. The program worked, and China's economy is only now showing signs of weakening, after remaining strong for the past several years. 

However, that economic stimulus has a cost. Specifically, China has incurred substantial debt in launching a myriad of construction programs across the country including major infrastructure improvements to roads and railways. Some of those projects may have been shoddily built in haste.

A number of people in China are commenting on social networks, accusing engineers of using low-quality materials and poor construction techniques. 

This isn't the first disaster in China surrounding these projects. Since July of last year, six bridges have collapsed in China. And although government officials like to blame overloaded trucks, many Chinese believe such a situation should be functionally impossible, just as it is in the United States where bridges are built with substantial safety margins. 

Last year, poorly designed signaling equipment was blamed for a high-speed rail disaster that saw one train ram into a another parked on the tracks. That disaster claimed 40 lives and injured 191 people. 

Chinese officials say the 9.6 mile bridge was constructed at a cost of less than $300 million (USD).

 

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