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December 30, 2009

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Henan Road bridge safe, despite looks

FOAM, plastics and even cotton padding, instead of cement, were found used in the facade of the Henan Road Bridge after cracks showed up in supports for the bridge's approach ramps on Monday.

Despite the shoddiness of those materials, construction authorities assured the public that the damage to the well-known bridge was merely cosmetic and that there was "no potential safety hazard."

Bridge experts, requested by the Shanghai urban and rural construction and transport commission, arrived late Monday night for inspections.

They gave an all-clear yesterday concerning the bridge's safety, saying the cracks were found only in outside decorations, rather than the main structure.

Alarm over the century-old bridge's condition arose after construction materials, used in a recent renovation, fell from cracks that were easily visible in pillars that support a roadway that rises from the bed of Suzhou Creek.

"To me it's a terrifying sight," said a resident living nearby.

The bridge, built in 1895 and a major link to downtown over Suzhou Creek, underwent a makeover last year that finished in January.

Shanghai Construction Group, which did the face-lift, refused to comment except to say that the bridge is still qualified for traffic.

But it told, a Shanghai-based news Website, that "there is loophole in managing the decoration work."

The company said it is still investigating who shall be responsible.

The builder said it has already urged a decoration company to repair the surface.

It said the work tried to make the bridge "look in an old-fashioned way," as it was a century ago.

The materials found in the facade were the result of a tight construction schedule, according to yesterday's Xinmin Evening News.

Wu Yihui, a long-time Huangpu bridge maintenance employee, said the flaws should not affect the bridge structure itself.

But, Wu said, "the builders should have inspected the bridge earlier to avoid such embarrassment."


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