Sun, May 06, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Road construction a hazard: councilor

SAFETY THREAT Lai Su-ru blasted the government for allowing too many road diggings and leaving the roads in poor condition afterwards, posing a risk to drivers

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei City Government should stop frequent road excavations and ensure that roads are repaired after construction to prevent traffic accidents caused by uneven pavements, a Taipei City councilor said yesterday.

The city government approved a total of 96 construction projects that involved digging up roads last year, but many companies either failed to repair the roads or left them poorly paved, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ru (賴素如) said.

"The poor quality of repair work after excavations made the uneven roads a safety hazard to drivers. The Taipei City Government should assume responsibility for any traffic accidents caused by uneven roads," she said at the Taipei City Council.

Of the 96 road-digging projects last year, Guangfu S Road was dug up 14 times, while Renai Road and Zhongxiao E Road were both dug up several times under 10 different construction projects, Lai said.

Taiwan Power Company was responsible for 55 of the construction projects and paid a fine totaling NT$1.14 million (US$34,000) because of poor repairs.

The Great Taipei Gas Corp, Taipei City Traffic Engineering Office and Taipei City Parks and Street Lights Office also undertook frequent road excavations around the city last year, she said.

In response, Lee Shu-chuan (李四川), director of the New Construction Department at the Taipei Bureau of Public Works, said that the city government had established a new road-excavation application mechanism to prevent unnecessary constructions and ensure that the roads are properly paved afterward.

The new mechanism requires companies to apply with the city government before undertaking excavations. Companies that dig up roads without acquiring a permit would be fined NT$40,000. Those that fail to repair the roads after digging will be fined NT$30,000.

The new system also allows the department to arrange the construction schedule and monitor the quality of construction online, Lee said.

"Reducing the number of road excavations is our goal, and we will put greater efforts into improving road quality," he said.

Lai also urged the department to fix uneven manhole covers on the roads, which is also a source of traffic accidents.

City government statistics showed that it paid more than NT$3.6 million to compensate residents who were injured because of uneven roads in 2004.

Lee said that all the new manhole covers were installed 30cm below the road surface, and then covered with metal or tar to fill in the gap.

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