Lawmakers voice safety concerns over Wugu-Yangmei Overpass construction

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Mar 05, 2013 - Page 3

A lawmaker yesterday cited construction flaws and questioned the construction quality management for the Wugu-Yangmei Overpass (五楊高架橋) as government officials reassured the public that it would not be opened before a re-examination had been completed.

The overpass connecting Wugu (五股) in New Taipei City (新北市) and Yangmei (楊梅) in Taoyuan County is about 40km long.

It will run parallel to Freeway No. 1 to ease congestion during peak hours.

An onsite investigation found eight construction flaws, including exposed steel bars and exposed pre-stressed concrete steel tendons, in a stretch of less than 1km of the overpass, which is scheduled to open on Monday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) told a press conference yesterday.

“The overpass’ construction quality is highly questionable and if the Ministry of Transportation and Communications insist on opening the overpass as scheduled, public safety would be of great concern,” Kuan said.

Civil engineers have examined photographs taken at the construction site and warned that the defects could lead to structural safety concerns, affecting the strength and longevity of the overpass, Kuan said.

DPP Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤), convener of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, said there had been too many accidents during the construction project and said he planned to ask the minister of Transportation and Communications to make a report to the committee.

National Expressway Engineering Bureau chief engineer Lu Jieh-bin (呂介斌) said that the overpass would not be opened to the public before the construction flaws had been rectified.