Highway cracks after 1 month

Updated: 2011-09-28 07:31

By Wang Huazhong (China Daily)

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 Highway cracks after 1 month

One of the cracks that has been repaired on a section of the Tianshui-Dingxi highway in northwest Gansu province on Sept 21. The newly finished highway had to be repaired just a month after it opened because of its poor quality. ZHANG MENG / FOR CHINA DAILY


Officials blame fissure on series of lapses in supervision over project

BEIJING - A construction crew had to repair a newly built section of highway in Northwest China after just a month because of deep cracks in its surface, authorities confirmed on Tuesday.

The 31-kilometer stretch of road in Gansu province was completed and opened to traffic on May 31, but by late June officials were already receiving complaints about potholes and crevices, some as long as 10 meters.

Television news footage of the road before the repairs showed deep cracks close to an exit. Nearby, traffic signs warned drivers of subsidence and advised them to reduce their speed to 20 km/h.

"(The contractors) were ordered to resurface the section and repairs were finished on Monday," said Tan Yingpeng, director of engineering for Gansu's communications office.

Asked why the cracks had opened up so quickly after the road was opened, he said they partly resulted from lapses in supervision. As a result, the contractors were ordered to resurface the road. "Otherwise, we can't give the public a satisfactory explanation."

A team led by the provincial Party discipline and inspection committee has been dispatched to look into "the technology and management responsibilities", Tan added.

He declined to answer questions about concerns over whether other sections of the project could have similar flaws.

The section is part of a new 235-km expressway running from Tianshui to Dingxi in Gansu province. It was built at a cost of 8.7 billion yuan ($1.36 billion) and is expected to benefit seven million people.

Authorities hired 19 contractors to lay the foundations of the entire highway and six more to handle surfacing.

Every kilometer of highway laid across Gansu's complex terrain costs an average of 100 million yuan, according to official data. However, the Tianshui-Dingxi highway cost just 37 million yuan a kilometer, Tan said.

However, he dismissed the suggestion that the flaw had been caused by insufficient or inferior materials.

"It probably comes down to lax supervision of the construction process," he said. "The asphalt layer wasn't rolled firmly, so water and mud has seeped in.

"The usual procedure is that the government will inspect the highway for two years before signing off on its quality. If any defects occur, contractors will fix it at their own expense."

Wu Zhibin, spokesman for Gansu government, said at a news conference on Tuesday that the repair work had cost contractors 120 million yuan.

China Daily

(China Daily 09/28/2011 page4)