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Big hole causes concern in Harbin
By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-27 06:16

HARBIN: A large hole nearly 20 metres long that materialized in a busy street in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, has still not been dealt with a week after it appeared.

The hole started as a crack on the road, which itself appeared during a rainy night last Tuesday.

It was not discovered until the road suddenly collapsed when a taxi passed over it last Wednesday.

The hole appeared on a feeder road leading onto Zhongshan Street, about 150 metres from the Heilongjiang provincial government office building.

Zhongshan Street, which usually can accommodate six cars running in both directions, is one of the most important streets in the city, connecting Nangang and Xiangfang, two prosperous districts in Harbin. The hole, which extends from the edge of the main street to the edge of a housing complex wall, is seven metres deep in places.

The site was immediately fenced off with large boards to warn drivers to avoid the area.

An entrance guard at the Dingxiangyuan community that is next to the hole said the taxi narrowly escaped falling into the hole because it was travelling fast.

And a community resident said this is not the first time that the road had collapsed. Just a month ago a pavement next to the road collapsed, and a group of people filled it in with earth.

However, constant spring rain which lasted nearly two days from last Monday triggered the collapse.

Jia Nan, a clerk who has to take the bus along the road to her workplace every day, told China Daily that the bus she took last Friday crawled slowly for nearly half an hour in rush hour traffic before it could turn into the main road and pass the area.

Zhang Jianhu, manager of Changqing Mansion which stands beside the Dingxiangyuan community, blamed the fountain just outside the community wall for the collapse.

"There is a heating pipeline which goes to Zhongshan Street under the collapsed area, and the fountain kept leaking water," he said. "Little by little, the water eroded the earth along the pipeline and created a hollow space beneath the surface.

An official from the Harbin Municipal Construction Commission said they were trying to resolve who should be responsible for the hole.

And he said this time they would try to solve the problem once and for all.

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