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Published:August 18th, 2007 13:11 EST
China to inspect bridges nationwide

China to inspect bridges nationwide

By SOP newswire

Li Shenglin, minister of communications Friday demanded a nationwide inspection of bridges and tunnels following a bridge collapse in central China's Hunan Province that claimed more than 40 lives.

Local communications authorities should closely examine every ongoing masonry arch bridge, a kind of bridge with stones, cement and sands but no steel bars, Li said at a conference on communications safety control held on Friday.

Unless no safety hazards are found can the construction work be resumed, he said.

Bridges with serious flaws will be closed.

The 328-meter-long, 42-meter-high bridge over the Tuojiang River in Fenghuang County in western Hunan Province, collapsed on Monday afternoon when an estimated 123 workers were dismantling steel scaffolding, killing at least 47 people.

China currently has more than 530,000 highway bridges, about one in three were built in 1960s and another one third in around 1980s.

Editor: Yan Liang