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January 8, 2010

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Four blamed for bridge cracks

FOUR construction managers found responsible for the cracks in the facade of the Henan Road Bridge have been punished with fines and demerits, authorities said yesterday.

Repair work continued on the 105-year-old passage over Suzhou Creek, and it is safe for traffic, according to Shanghai Construction Group, the general contractor responsible for a renovation project on the bridge which ended last January.

The group said shoddy work was done during the makeover of the bridge that was meant to "make it look in an old-fashioned way."

"The planning procedures were not followed strictly," said bridge expert Zhang Zenghuan, chief engineer of Shanghai Urban Project Design Institute.

"Managers also did not fully look through during the construction," Zhang said.

The builders did not set aside space for joints to settle, the standard procedure for avoiding unevenness between the main structure and the facade, causing the cracks, according to an investigation report.

Zhang added that "the lesson was profound."

Three managers, from the group's quality control department to its decoration company, were fined between 10,000 yuan (US$1,465) and 20,000 yuan and received warnings from group, one of the city's leading construction firms.

A fourth was given demerits from the group.

Online critics angrily wrote that the penalties were "too mild," as the cracks, appearing in December, were a shock to see.

"They were able to dodge severe penalties, anyway, despite what they have done," said a person anonymously in a forum of

Foam, plastic and cotton padding, instead of cement, were found stuffed inside the facade of the bridge after cracks showed up in supports for the bridge's approach ramps.

Bridge experts, requested by the Shanghai urban and rural construction and transport commission, later judged that the bridge was safe, saying the cracks were found only in appendages, rather than in the main structure.

Top managers with the construction group said they will closely check all its construction projects citywide with surprise inspections.

"We will not notify them beforehand," said Hang Yingwei, deputy general manager of the group.

"No more superficial work and no more cover ups," Hang said.


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