Thu, Aug 06, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Faulty adhesive used at overpass

STICKY PROBLEM‘Next Magazine’ wrote that in Boston, which used Fix-3 in the Big Dig Tunnel, one person was killed when cement blocks fell from the ceiling

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Construction workers do repair work on the surface of the Xinsheng Overpass in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

The Taipei City Government yesterday acknowledged it used substandard adhesive in repair work on the Xinsheng Overpass (新生高架橋).

The city said it would assess the responsibility of the manufacturer after it failed to inform the city government of a product recall.

The manufacturer, Sika USA, issued a recall of two types of adhesive — Sikadure AnchorFix-3 and Sikadure AnchorFix-4 — via e-mail in January.

However, Sika Taiwan Ltd failed to inform the city’s department of public works, department commissioner Chen Jin-yuan (陳晉源) said at Taipei City Hall yesterday.

The department learned of the recall on Monday after the ­Chinese-language Next Magazine inquired with the department while researching a story that was published yesterday.

The story quoted an anonymous source and accused the city government of putting city residents’ safety at risk by using the problematic Fix-4 adhesive.

In Boston, where Fix-3 was used in the Big Dig tunnel, one person was killed three years ago when cement blocks fell from the ceiling.

A similar incident could occur in the Xinsheng Overpass if the department continues to use the adhesive, the story said.

Chen said the city government would stop using Sikadure AnchorFix-4 for construction and demand that the contractor, Kung Sing Engineering Corporation, use adhesive from other manufacturers and conduct a safety assessment within a week.

“The adhesive was used to fix the base, quakeproof blocks and railings on the overpass. It was a small part of the construction and should not affect the opening date of the overpass,” he said.

The city government will ask prosecutors to determine whether Sika Taiwan Ltd should be liable for failing to inform the city government of the recall.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said that the safety of the overpass and motorists was the city government’s primary concern.

Built more than 25 years ago, Xinsheng Overpass has undergone repair work since July last year, with a budget of NT$1.6 billion (US$48 million). The overpass is scheduled to reopen at the end of next month.

Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Lee Wen-ying (李文英) yesterday criticized the city government for failing to learn of the faulty adhesive prior to being contacted by the media and questioned the city government’s wisdom in hiring Kung Sing Engineering Corporation as the contractor for the project.

The company was also the contractor for the MRT Neihu Line, which has run into problems since it was launched last month.

Chen said Fix-4 adhesive was used in many construction projects around Taiwan, including the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system and highways.

The department has inspected about 200,000 steel bars that used the adhesive and found no problems, he said.

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