The propensity of Chinese bridges to spontaneously collapse when subjected to weather, usage, construction, or what some wags have classified as “magnitude 0” earthquakes, is currently creating much controversy in China – and with even official statistics claiming a Chinese bridge falls down on average at least every 2 months, it is not hard to see why.
In some cases, such as this 1983 bridge in Shaanxi which is currently outraging Chinese online, the authorities have apparently decided to give up on fixing things and just leave the locals to it.
The bridge first collapsed in 2008 and again in 2010, but the government merely told locals not to use it whilst ignoring their repair entreaties.
Another major scandal erupted in August when a $300 million elevated highway in Harbin collapsed, overturning a number of trucks and killing 3 people and injuring a further 5. It only opened at the end of 2011.
According to official statistics, over the past 5 years 37 elevated bridges have collapsed in China, 13 of which did not even survive completion, in total killing 182 and injuring 177.
Bridges are calculated to be collapsing at a rate of at least 1 every 2 months – possibly making air travel a safer option than bridges.
A lack of safety inspections and construction quality which has seen such durable materials as polystyrene and rubbish employed in major infrastructure are amongst the factors blamed for the accidents, which show little sign of abating despite increasing criticism.