Wow, talk about a colossally dumb idea: build a giant bridge with rocks and concrete instead of steel to blend into the environment. 41 people were killed in Hunan province were killed when the bridge fell in on itself while under construction. The toll is expected to rise as there are dozens of construction workers trapped under a giant pile of debris in the river below.
The job sounded like it was botched from the start, using shoddy materials, rushed deadlines, and a poor choice of bridge type. I can appreciate them wanting the bridge to blend into the countryside, but it’s just stupid to pick a design that doesn’t scale up to the size they needed and to then dump on the added penalties of doing a crappy job of building it.
“While the cause of the collapse is still unknown, a local official at the scene claimed that a ‘traditional and risky’ model of bridge, made of stone and concrete, had been chosen over a steel structure to ensure it remained ‘in harmony with the natural environment’,” the China Daily said.
Investigation teams and experts have pointed a finger of blame at design flaws and quality defects in the 42-metre (140 feet) high bridge’s structure and materials.
“The ruptured parts of the bridge show broken stones, also it was a clean break. It’s obvious the quality was too poor,” the Beijing News quoted an architecture expert at Beijing’s Tsinghua university as saying.
Surviving construction workers said work on the bridge had been rushed and that they had been ordered to take scaffolding down before the bridge was finished.
“Beforehand, we said that such a poor-quality stone arch bridge would one day have an accident. We never thought it would topple before it was finished,” the paper quoted a worker as saying.
Another said no safety harnesses were provided on scaffolding “tens of meters high” and that workers’ safety helmets were so flimsy that holes could be poked in them with fingers.
I’m just glad I’m not a Chinese construction worker today.