Street collapses in Hanoi, leaves giant sinkhole

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A huge portion of a Hanoi street caved in leaving this crater

A street built to mark Hanoi's 1,000th anniversary in 2010 virtually imploded last Sunday, leaving a crater eight meters deep and 10 meters wide. But no casualties were reported.

Local residents said at around 7 a.m. a crack appeared on Le Van Luong Street in Ha Dong District along with cracking noises.

A couple of hours later the cracked section sank, they said.

By evening the hole had expanded across the street and Thanh Nien correspondents reported that it was continuing to widen.

VnExpress quoted some witnesses as saying that the collapse occurred when a bus was passing over the section, but that the driver managed to safely get across.

But it did not suffer from the torrential rains that flooded Hanoi in the previous few days.

Nguyen Hoang Giap, chief of the Hanoi Department of Transport's inspectorate, told the media that "there was nothing wrong with the street's [construction] quality."

He blamed the sinkage on the on-going construction of a building nearby.

Giap claimed that the building developer, Song Da Thang Long Joint Stock Company, had damaged the road's foundations, thus weakening it.

Erosion caused by torrential rains in the previous few days further deteriorate the damages, he said.

A spokesperson for Nam Cuong Corporation, which built the road, said the contractor should have fortified the road before digging foundations for the building.

Song Da Thang Long had signed an agreement to accept responsibility in case the street collapsed, the representative added.

Nguyen Tri Dung, director general of Song Da Thang Long, said due to the heavy rains, a water-collecting pit under the street filled up and exerted massive pressure that led to the collapse.

He accused Nam Cuong of failing to build a proper pit, using sand and bricks instead of concrete. Erosion is a given when sand meets water, he said.

Related agencies are investigating further.

The 2.67-kilometer Le Van Luong Street was built at a cost of nearly VND700 billion (US$33.3 million).

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