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Bridge cracks under scrutiny

Update: February, 28/2014 - 08:18

Minister of Construction Trinh Dinh Dung checked cracks on the piers of Vinh Tuy bridge, a major bridge that crosses the Red River in Ha Noi on Wednesday. The cracks have been deemed to be minor but will continue to be closely monitered. – VNA/VNS Photo Tuan Anh

HA NOI (VNS) — The investor of Vinh Tuy Bridge, a major project crossing the Red River in Ha Noi, was required to hire an independent consulting firm to investigate the cracks that have appeared recently on the project's piers.

At an inspection on the bridge on Wednesday, Minister of Construction Trinh Dinh Dung instructed the Ta Ngan Project Management Board to make assessment report on the cracks and determine on the risk they may pose to the safety and longevity of the bridge.

"The assessment must be carried out carefully so that these cracks could be treated properly for the safety of those going through the bridge," he said.

Last week, cracks appeared along one of the bridge's piers, with some absorbing rainwater. Following a rapid inspection, the city's transport authority said the cracks had been caused by concrete shrinkage and that they would not affect the bridge's capacity.

Several days later, a design advisory firm found two more piers with cracks. The firm corroborated initial assessments that the pillars were steady and that a special glue would be used for improvement.

Reiterating his request for close monitoring of the bridge by the municipal Department of Transport, Minister Dung said most bridges collapsed after being battered by natural disasters or hit by moving vessels.

Nguyen Van Nham, from Ha Noi-based University of Transport, said cracked piers were a common feature of bridges around the world, citing China's Hangzhou Bay Bridge, also known as the world's longest ocean-crossing bridge.

Regarding the Vinh Tuy Bridge, he said cracks were appearing on areas that had supported heavy loads. They must be monitored closely to see if they continue to spread.

The VND5.5 trillion (US$258 million) Vinh Tuy project, one of seven bridges running across the Red River, is crucial to the capital's transport strategy.

The 5.8-km long, 19.25-m wide bridge is also a proud symbol of Vietnamese infrastructure building. — VNS



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