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Troubled road needs new repairs

Updated: 2012-08-14 08:09
By Xue Chaohua in Lanzhou and An Baijie in Beijing ( China Daily)

8.7b-yuan project turns 'problematic'

A highway in Northwest China's Gansu province that had to be repaired soon after it was finished last year was found to be damaged again after the heavy rainstorms hit the region in recent weeks.

The Tianshui-Dingxi Highway, part of the G30 Highway running 4,395 kilometers from East China's Jiangsu province to Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, had cave-ins, holes and other damage, according to a report released by the Gansu provincial transportation department on Saturday.

The damage was caused by recent continuous rain in the region, where 20 percent more precipitation has fallen than the average of past years, the report on the department's website said.

The heavy rain also caused mudslides on local roads and destroyed some drainage pipes that would cost 2.46 billion yuan ($387 million) to repair, the report said.

The highway, completed in May 2011 at a cost of more than 8.7 billion yuan, had a number of large holes in the surface a month later. The local government said afterward that the road quality was substandard, and it was repaired in July 2011.

Zhang Zhiyong, an official in charge of the highway's quality supervision in Gansu department of transportation, said on Monday that the construction company renovated 31 kilometers of the problematic parts of the highway last year.

Zhang said the cave-ins were caused by the rain, which washed away loose soil on the sides of the highway.

On April 16, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said in a notice that the construction company would be held responsible for the flaws in the highway, and the company had to pay 120 million yuan in repair costs.

He Wensheng, deputy dean with the School of Management at Lanzhou University, said the responsibility also extended to government officials, who should not be exempted from punishment and that investigation into the causes of the highway's problems should continue, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Ma Yibu, a middle-aged truck driver from Tianshui, said he has to slow down whenever he drives on the highway because of the holes in the road.

Ma said that although some parts of the road were fixed last year, there are at least 10 places in a 30-kilometer stretch where the road surface has settled.

"I encountered lots of places early this month where one lane of the (two-lane) Tianshui-Dingxi Highway was closed," Ma said. "My truck bumped when I drove fast on the uneven surface."

anbaijie@chinadaily.com.cn

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