Posted on 26 August 2012 - 09:07pm
By Alyaa Alhadjri (The Sun)
PETALING JAYA (Aug 26, 2012): The government has been urged to conduct an immediate audit into the construction of the Second Penang Bridge following last Friday's collapse of the Harbin Yangmingtan Bridge in Heilongjiang province, China.
Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San said this is because the contractor that constructed the Yangmingtan Bridge - China Communications and Construction Company Ltd (CHEC) - is also the parent company of China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd which has partnered with UEM Builders Sdn Bhd to construct the 24km Second Penang Bridge from Batu Kawan at the peninsula to Batu Maung at Penang Island.
China's Xinhua news agency had reported that four lorries fell off the Yangmingtan Bridge, which spans across Songhua River, when a 100m ramp section collapsed, leaving three people dead and five injured.
The incident had occurred allegedly due to shoddy construction and overloading despite the bridge being open for only nine months. It had been constructed at a cost of RMB1.88 billion (RM878.23 million).
"Another reason for caution is the construction of the 235km long Tianding-Dingxi Highway in Gansu Province, which is also constructed by CCCC-SHB Meng Xing Engineering Co. Ltd, another subsidiary company owned by CCCC.
"According to media reports in China, the highway was only opened to the public in January 2011 but it has collapsed twice in less than two years," said Lau.
As such, Lau said an independent audit team comprising technical experts must be appointed to review the ongoing construction of the Second Penang Bridge, set to be completed in another two years. This is to ensure that it complies with all safety measures and prevent it from suffering a similar fate.
He added that the audit exercise should be done periodically and its report should also be made public.