>> Collapse of suspension bridge kills eight in Lai Chau
Poor construction was a major cause of the recent collapse of the suspension bridge in Lai Chau Province, says a leading construction expert in Vietnam.
The bridge collapse
After the incident on February 24 that left eight dead and 38 injured, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) sent an independent group to investigate.
Hoang Hoa, Director of the ministry’s Department of Science and Technology, who also heads up the investigatory group said that preliminary results indicate that the accident was caused by resonant force resulting in screws failing.
However, Dr. Nguyen Dinh Cong, former chairman of the National University of Civil Engineering’s Industrial and Civil Engineering Faculty, disagreed with these findings, calling them irrational and unpersuasive.
“I don't believe that the screw failures could have been a result of resonant force. In order to generate that kind of resonant force, hundreds of people had to have been passing in a parade. In this case, only 40 to 50 people attending the funeral were passing over. This means that there had to already have been some problems with the screws, and a careful assessment on their quality must be conducted,” Cong emphasised.
He suspects substandard construction practices and not overload to be the likely culprit for the tragedy.
“The investigative agency should check the project dossiers to clarify whether the breakdown was a result of technical problems, substandard construction or bad construction methods. It’s also important to appraise the quality of materials in the screws before making a final conclusion,” he noted.
Major-general Tran Duan, Director of Lai Chau provincial police, said the agency is cooperating with the MoT to investigate the case.
“Even though the initial results of the investigation show that the accident happened as a result of overload, further investigation must be conducted on the quality of construction and materials,” Duan commented.
General Lo Van Bich, Deputy Director of the provincial police, the area has been blocked off to facilitate the investigation. Experts and officials from the MoT will be responsible for appraising technical issues.
Injured victims are currently still being treated at Bach Mai Hospital and Vietnam-Germany Hospital in Hanoi, as well as the provincial hospital in Lao Cai.
Hoang Tho Trung, Chairman of Tam Duong District in Lai Chau Province, said they have built a temporary road to facilitate travel at a cost of around VND100 million (USD4,733). The temporary road is expected to be put in use next week.