Flaws may delay Wugu-Yangmei overpass opening
By Joy Lee, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- National Expressway Engineering Bureau (NEEB) spokesman Lu Jie-pin (呂介斌) yesterday said the Wugu-Yangmei overpass will not open to traffic until it passes a second inspection after an opposition lawmaker revealed construction flaws on a section of the overpass.
March 5, 2013, 12:35 am TWN
Director-General of the NEEB Tseng Dar-jen (曾大仁) said, however, that March 11 remains the current scheduled opening date of the overpass.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said that she received information recently regarding severe construction flaws on the Wugu-Yangmei overpass.
Kuan said that according to a specialist she sent to conduct an inspection, there are eight spots with steel bars exposed within one kilometer of the overpass, which indicates serious negligence of construction and operations.
“It is definitely necessary to conduct a new round of inspections, and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) should not allow the overpass to be opened to traffic on March 11,” she said.
Kuan cites experts as saying that steel bars not being covered by concrete lowers the endurance of the overpass as the steel bars oxidize.
“If a serious and careful construction inspection is not completed, it will be a horrible disaster to open the overpass to traffic,” Kuan said.
Lu said that the expressway bureau has already notified the company that is in charge of the construction to correct the flaws before opening the overpass to traffic.
Tseng said that the concrete defects are not a severe issue and the construction team is working hard to repair the flaw. The bureau stated that the overpass is still slated for a March 11 opening.
The opening of the Zhongli section of the overpass has been postponed twice.
It was originally scheduled to be opened to traffic before Chinese New Year, but was then delayed to Feb. 9.
The Wugu-Yangmei overpass is a section of National Freeway No. 1 that connects Wugu District in New Taipei City to Yangmei City in Taoyuan County.
The construction of the overpass began in 2009 at an estimated cost of NT$88.2 billion.
It was opened to limited traffic in mid-December.