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October 13, 2010

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City considers roads takeover

THE city government is considering buying out the contracts to operate part of the city's suburban ring road system because of what it claims is lax maintenance work by the current private firms responsible, local construction and transport officials said yesterday.

On Monday, a concrete side barrier on the G1501 expressway collapsed and killed a man underneath.

Huang Rong, director of the Shanghai Construction and Transport Commission, said: "We have been talking with the operators more than 10 times a year about roadway renovations. But so far negotiations have not solved the problem."

The concrete barrier was being used in an emergency renovation project on the expressway, a key passage in Baoshan District in the north of the city, which has long proved a headache for drivers because of its poor surface and abundance of potholes.

Huang said the renovations, which began last Friday, were being paid for by the local government.

Ring roads such as the G1501 (the former A30) in the city have became much busier after the toll fares were lowered several years ago to attract more vehicles, and especially large container trucks.

However, limited income had resulted in poor repairs and a lack of routine maintenance while at the same time heavy trucks continued to cause damage to the road surface, officials said.

Five private companies are responsible for the entire stretch of the G1501.

"A deal can hardly be made with so many groups involved," said Huang.

Huang said they were also considering enlarging the ring roads "mostly relying on government funds at first."

Officials said yesterday that the revamp project would be delayed because of the accident. Originally, the work was expected to be finished in six months.

A task force is still investigating the cause of the accident.


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