From the South China Morning Post of December 30:
First it was “tofu” schools, now foam bridges. Shanghai engineers have become the subject of ridicule from internet users after a supposedly concrete bridge was found stuffed with rubbish and plastic foam.
Repairmen found that the piers of the crossing over Suzhou Creek in Putuo district had been stuffed with sacks, foam and waste from landfills, Xinhua reported. Authorities were alerted when residents saw a square-metre concrete cover fall to the ground on Monday.
The bridge was renovated and reopened in January, but residents from nearby communities complained they had seen huge holes in the piers in the past few months.
The building contractor, the Shanghai Construction Group, denied any safety hazard after an initial investigation, saying the fallen boards and holes were decorative features that would not affect the structure, Xinhua said.
The Shanghai Urban Construction and Communications Commission also confirmed that the bridge was safe for commuters and drivers. Officials said the bridge underwent an inspection by engineers, who concluded the main structure was not affected.
“Shanghai people have difficult lives,” respected blogger Hecaitou wrote on Twitter. “Buildings collapse during construction, subways collide and now they even use rubbish to build bridges. You need to be brave to live in such a place.”
It is not the first time that Shanghai authorities have been criticised for construction defects. In June, an unfinished 13-storey apartment building collapsed, killing a worker. Police detained at least seven people.
Last month, authorities in nearby Nanjing used glue to make repairs on a new bridge after cracks were found in more than 30 handrails of the 50 million yuan (HK$56.7 million) construction. The bridge was completed in June.
Shoddy building work is common on the mainland as developers and officials embezzle construction funds.
More than 7,000 poorly built classrooms in Sichuan province collapsed in an earthquake last year. More than 5,000 children were killed in the buildings, which became known as “tofu” schools.