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Investigation launched into bridge repair work

Update: December, 24/2014 - 09:09
After completing the bridge's asphalt cover, contractors removed the wooden boards and sandbags and finished installing the expansion joints. — Photo vov

HA NOI (VNS) — Expansion joints were installed on Ngu Huyen Khe Bridge in Ha Noi's Dong Anh District after Tien Phong (Vanguard) reported that the bridge had cracks as wide as 5cm.

The newspaper also reported on December 6 showing that the bridge's interior structure was made of wooden boards and sandbags.

The bridge, part of the VND40 billion ($US1.8 million) Highway 5 Extension Project, opened to traffic on October 9. After the incident, both experts and the public asked why the bridge was opened before it was finished.

Pham Van Duan, deputy director of the project management board, said there was no misconduct and the city's People's Committee was fully informed of the decision to open the bridge.

He said that even though the expansion joints were not finished before the bridge opened, the wooden boards and sandbags provided temporary reinforcement.

The solution was proposed by the project's contractor, 319 Corp. of the Ministry of Defence, and was approved by the construction consultant unit, the Institute of Transport Science and Technology under the Ministry of Transport, according to Duan.

After completing the bridge's asphalt cover, contractors removed the wooden boards and sandbags and finished installing the expansion joints.

"It was perfectly normal for the contractor to remove the temporary cover to install the expansion joints. There was absolutely no damage to the bridge in the two months it was open," Duan said.

Former dean of the University of Construction Nguyen Van Hung, however, did not find that explanation satisfactory.

"Using wooden boards and sandbags, temporary or not, to replace the bridge expansion joints was unacceptable from a safety point of view," Hung said in an interview with Tien Phong.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance will inspect the bridge before the official opening date on December 31.

Such incidents have occurred frequently in recent months. In May, cracks were reported in the $133 million National Highway 18 through northern Quang Ninh Province, only two weeks after the road opened.

Additionally, a 73m-long crack was found in the $1.5 billion Ha Noi – Lao Cai expressway just three days after it opened in September. — VNS

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