May 21, 2019

New Chinese motorway collapses two days after opening

The remains of a pickup truck that was 'test driving' the new Xinsan motorway.

A section of the new 57-mile-long Xinsan motorway, through the Yunnan Mountains in China has collapsed only two days after opening.

Two people were killed and two more injured when the road was opened for trials and heavy storms caused a landslide underneath it, washing a section into the valley below.

The construction team in charge of the project had warned officials about rushing construction, but the Communist Party wanted the motorway included on the list of “glory projects” to be unveiled for the party’s 90th anniversary on July 1.

Huge banners were slung on the cliffs above the road, reminding its builders, “Work hard, work quickly, we have 60 days left”.

Chinese media are reporting that party chiefs in Beijing warned the local government that if the motorway was not finished on time, its 2 billion Yuan (US$309 million) cost would have to come out of local, rather than central, budgets.

The Xinsan motorway is not the only major project rushed through to meet the Party anniversary deadline.

The 820-mile Beijing-to-Shanghai high-speed railway, after being open to the public for only eleven days, saw trains stalled for two hours after an electrical failure.

Meanwhile, at Nanjing South railway station, workmen have fenced off huge areas of the station platform for repairs. Outside, workers have smashed thousands of granite floor tiles put on show for the station’s opening ceremony and are now repaving the whole area. An official said the tiles had been temporary to get the station looking finished for July 1.

In the northern city of Qingdao, engineers have resumed work on the world’s longest sea bridge to fit it with the safety barriers and lighting that were not quite done when it was opened to the public, with some fanfare, ahead of the anniversary.

Like most things in China these projects will all get there in the end minus a few workers and members of the public who were collateral damage along the way.