MOTC sug­gests lo­cal gov’ts to blame for Metro col­lapse


The Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions ( MOTC, ) sug­gested that lo­cal gov­ern­men­tal bod­ies man­ag­ing the con­struc­tion of Taichung Metro were re­spon­si­ble for the fa­tal ac­ci­dent at a metro build­ing site on Fri­day.

The MOTC pointed out that it signed a “tri­par­tite agree­ment” ( ) with the Taichung Gov­ern­ment and the Taipei City Gov­ern­ment in 2008 to push for­ward the Taichung Metro con­struc­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the pact, the MOTC is in charge of over­see­ing the con­struc­tion sched­ule and fund­ing, Taipei City over­sees the de­sign and con­struc­tion of the metro sys­tem, and Taichung su­per­vises busi­ness op­er­a­tions, land devel­op­ment, ur­ban plan­ning, land ac­quire­ment and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween lo­cal en­ter­prises.

The MOTC’s com­ment came as some me­dia out­lets sug­gested that the ac­ci­dent might have been caused by the con­struc­tion ven­dor hur­ry­ing to meet dead­lines, which ac­cord­ing to the pact are set by the MOTC.

The MOTC said that site op- er­a­tion man­age­ment prob­lems are the po­ten­tial rea­son that an un­der- con­struc­tion sec­tion of Taichung Mass Rail Tran­sit Sys­tem had col­lapsed last Fri­day, which caused four deaths and four in­juries.

MOTC of­fi­cials said that they will be send­ing out in­ves­ti­ga­tors to the site of the col­lapse, im­ple­ment­ing even stricter con­struc­tion site safety reg­u­la­tions that ad­here to re­lated reg­u­la­tions, traf­fic con­trol and man­age­ment plans.

Liu An- te ( ) of Taipei City’s Depart­ment of Rapid Tran­sit Sys­tems Cen­tral Dis­trict Project Of­fice ( ), who is charge of su­per­vis­ing the con­struc­tion, said box gird­ers should be fixed with at least one-third of the bolts be­fore in­stal­la­tion, ac­cord­ing to reg­u­la­tions. Box gird­ers are usu­ally equipped with fix­tures that en­able minute ad­just­ments later in the con­struc­tion process, Liu said.

The box girder that fell on Fri­day had 1,463 out of 3,242 bolts in­stalled, which meant it was al­ready 45 per­cent fin­ished, Liu ex­plained. The box girder was in­tact upon im­pact on the ground, mean­ing bolt in­stal­la­tion prob­lems could not be the cause of the col­lapse.

In re­sponse to ques­tions on whether the col­lapse was caused by work­ers hur­ry­ing to with­draw the crane, Liu said that as he un­der­stands it, there was no hurry to call it back.

The con­struc­tion was sched­uled to end at 4 p. m. Au­thor­i­ties had ap­plied to pro­long the process un­til 8 p. m. once they were sure that the con­struc­tion could not be fin­ished by the dead­line of around 2- 3 p. m. ex­plained Liu.

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