HA NOI (VNS)— An initial investigation has blamed Monday's deadly collapse of a bridge in the northern mountainous province of Lai Chau on sub-standard screws anchoring bridge cables, said Transport Minister Dinh La Thang yesterday.
The accident killed eight people and injured 40 others. Officials report that the bridge collapsed when a funeral procession attempted to cross the suspension bridge, which connects Chu Va 8 Village to Chu Va 6 Village in Tam Duong District.
The screws anchoring the bridge's cables were carelessly made, Thang told a Government meeting yesterday, adding that the screws were joined, instead of being completely founded, thus reducing their ability to support the weight of the structure.
According to the ministry's report, which was released yesterday, initial reports from the independent investigation team, which includes top construction experts, revealed that screws anchoring cables along the side towards Chu Va 8 Village were broken, reducing the holding capacity of the main cable and causing the bridge to turn over, hurling victims to the ground.
A temporary wooden bridge, which has been built next to the collapsed one, was opened yesterday for local residents. The 2m-wide new bridge is able to allow for the passing of people and motorbikes.
Authorities from Tam Duong District had earlier prepared for the construction of a new bridge at the site of the collapsed one.
The construction ministry has instructed the People's Committees of localities to check and assess the quality of all suspension bridges nationwide and tighten controls over the maintenance of these bridges.
Many suspension bridges were built between 10-20 years ago, or even longer, and have deteriorated, posing higher risks of collapsing.
Vice Chairman of Muong Lat District in the central province of Thanh Hoa Luong Quy Hoi said a suspension bridge in Tam Chung Commune, put into use five years ago, had seriously deteriorated. However, it stills serves thousands of people and vehicles each day.
Tens of suspension bridges in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, with a capacity of over one tonne each, are also at high risk of collapse.
The transport ministry is drawing up a plan to build more than 1,000 bridges in rural areas throughout the country, including 200 suspension bridges. — VNS