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Island's bridge reopens 4 months after accident

By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-24 06:59
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A file photo shows rescue work is carried out on Feb 22, 2024 after a barge hit the pier of the Lixinsha Bridge in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, causing a portion of the bridge to break off. [Photo by Zheng Erqi/China Daily]

Residents of Sanmin Island in Guangzhou, the capital of South China's Guangdong province, celebrated on Saturday as the Lixinsha Bridge reopened to traffic a month ahead of schedule.

The bridge, which spans the Pearl River's Hongliqi waterway and was the island's sole vehicular connection, was closed for repairs in February after it was hit by a barge on Feb 22, causing a central section to collapse. Five people died and two were injured in the incident.

"The bridge reopening is a huge relief," said Li Zhigang, the project manager for the bridge's reconstruction. "It effectively guarantees the livelihoods of the island's over 9,000 residents."

After the accident, residents had to rely on ferries or a temporary bridge linking the island to a bridge upstream. But the detours increased commute times significantly, and farmers had difficulties transporting their produce to market. The accident also left island residents short of water because it broke a pipeline.

Huang Fulin, 49, said: "It used to take me over 30 minutes to reach my banana fields by detour. Now, thanks to the bridge, it only takes 10 minutes."

Before the 787-meter bridge collapsed, nearly 100 trucks collected fruits and vegetables from the island's farms each day.

Reconstruction efforts are continuing, with additional reinforcement of the bridge's piers planned to be completed by the end of next month.

Sanmin Island, covering roughly 10 square kilometers, boasts a primary school, restaurants, fishing grounds and tourist attractions.

The island's primary economic activities are fruit and vegetable cultivation and tourism.

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