Navigating New Risks
By Kate Smith
Four cargo trucks lay crushed on the ground, wheels in the air and cabs folded like accordions. They were being driven on the Yangmingtan Bridge in the Northern Chinese city of Harbin last August when a 330-foot-long section of the road collapsed beneath them, sending the trucks and drivers plummeting into a footpath 100 feet below.
The eight-lane, 9.6 mile-long expanse-the nation’s longest bridge north of the Yangtze River-had been built just 18 months. It had been open only nice months when it gave way.
The collapse touched off an increased familiar debate in China: Has construction speed become more important than safety in this rapidly developing region?