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October 12, 2010

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Highway barrier crushes man

A SECURITY guard was killed yesterday morning after the concrete side barrier of an elevated highway collapsed and crushed the work shed in which he was living.

Neighbors said the victim, whose name has not been released by authorities, was living temporarily in the shed in the city's Baoshan District, and was probably asleep when the accident happened about 6:30am.

Half of the Hutai Highway under the G1501 Expressway was blocked by the broken sections of the concrete side barrier, bringing traffic to a standstill.

The fallen barrier was from one of two parallel elevated roads of G1501, and had been under renovation.

Its collapse was caused by "improper supporting of the side barrier during the renovation," the city's construction authorities said yesterday.

An investigation into the accident was still ongoing.

After the debris was cleared, the carriageway reopened at about 3:30pm yesterday, the authorities said.

Police said a 40-meter long concrete side barrier fell from the G1501 Expressway, crushing the work shed and a mini-truck and blocking half of the road beneath.

No other injuries were reported, but drivers on Hutai Road at the time had lucky escapes. "The huge cement blocks were just 7 or 8 meters away from me," said a driver surnamed Zhang, who was almost hit by the barrier but braked in time.

"It could have been terrible if I had been driving faster."

Zhang, who was still in shock, said that a taxi driver in front of him had come even closer to death. "He braked so hard that the rear of the taxi was lifted off the ground."

Baoshan police cordoned off the area and stopped traffic traveling in both directions due to safety concerns.

The construction company responsible for the renovation, the China Construction Eighth Engineering Division, sent dozens of machines to demolish the fallen barrier.

The elevated road has been closed for renovation since last Friday, workers said. They were laying new asphalt.

Qiu Feng, a director of the Baoshan traffic police, said about 50 officers were dispatched to relieve traffic congestion at the intersections of Hutai Highway while the demolition team was working.


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