$52.6 mil bridge's beams collapse in Hanoi

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Beams of a VND1 trillion (US$52.6 million) bridge which is under construction in Hanoi collapsed on Sunday, prompting police to launch an investigation into the case, although no casualties were reported.


The incident took place near the Linh Dam residential area in Hoang Mai District where the Phap Van Bridge.


Witnesses said at around 12 a.m. they heard big noises from the construction site and very soon four beams several meters long fell.


Nguyen Duc Y, director of the Thang Long Bridge No.7 Company which functions under the state-owned contractor Thang Long Corporation, said the beams belonged to the 73-74th lane which was built last December.


It was waiting to be handed over to Japanese contractor Sumitomo Corporation, he added.


The Vietnamese contractor had assigned experts to learn about the cause, according to Y.


In the meantime, Nguyen Duc Nhanh, director of Hanoi's police department, said they had stepped in the case to investigate the the cause, stressing that the incident posed a critical threat to people's safety.


Y said the accident caused some VND600 million in losses ($31,570).


However, it would not affect the progress of the project which is scheduled for completion this September to commemorate Hanoi's 1,000th anniversary, said Pham Thanh Binh, vice director of the Thang Long Project Management Unit, which represents the investor, the Ministry of Transport.  


Phap Van Bridge, which is being built with loans from the Japanese government, broke ground in September, 2008. Contractors for the project are the Thang Long Corporation and the Sumitomo Corporation.


The 2.478 kilometer-long bridge is part of the 12-kilometer-plus  Thanh Tri Bridge, which will be the largest bridge over the Red River once it is completed.

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