Yangtze bank collapse disrupts highway traffic

2008-04-05 21:47:57 Xinhua English

YICHANG, April 6 (Xinhua) -- Saturday's collapses of Yangtze River banks and an adjacent highway have disrupted road traffic in the central Chinese provinces of Hubei, Hunan and the southwestern Chongqing Municipality, the local government said on Sunday.

Banks along Yangtze's middle reaches near Yangxi Wharf in Yidu City of Hubei Province collapsed at around 2:10 a.m. on Saturday, causing a cave-in on a pivotal highway on the southern bank of the river, a spokesman with the city government said.

The road subsidence, which occurred two hours after the river bank collapsed, measured nearly 30,000 cubic meters and left a 12-meter-deep pit on the Provincial Highway No. 254.

The pit, measuring about 100 meters long and 30 meters wide, cut off a section of the highway between Yidu City and Gong'an county, the spokesman said.

He said the accident has caused no casualties as yet, but has disrupted road traffic to Jingzhou, Yichang, Songzi and Wuhan cities of Hubei, as well as to the neighboring Hunan Province and Chongqing Municipality.

Repair work has been planned, and experts say road traffic will resume in three months.

Meanwhile, the local water conservancy bureau is assessing the impact of the accident on the flood prevention work ahead of the rainy season.

The collapsed river bank, about 80 kilometers downstream from Gezhouba Dam, has suffered four previous collapses in recent years. Experts have blamed lack of fund for the inadequate repair work in the past.