Meanwhile, the Yuhsin Bridge in Yuli has also been severly affected after 23 beams were damaged by the quake, resulting in losses around NT$50 million and a delay of its widening project.
The two sides of the Yuhsin Bridge appear fragmented in pieces. Beams measuring 40-46 meters are broken into several segments and a big portion fell into the riverbed. In fact, these beams were only hoisted last Saturday. Thus the damage from the earthquake is especially severe.
Ma Hsi-jun, Deputy Director, Suhua Improvement Engineering Office: “We have a total of 32 beams and with the initial inspection, around 23 are damaged. The period right after hoisting beams is the most unstable and unsafe stage of the bridge.”
Several aftershocks continued after the strong earthquake, and after a huge whirring shake, the billboards nearby Yuli Hospital kept shaking nonstop, and thus for safety reasons, the personnel from the Suhua Improvement Engineering Office rushed onsite to seal off the bridge.
“It might explode so please stay away. (reporter:“Is this now a controlled area? ”)Yes, yes, we are now implementing controls.”
Originally Yuhsin Bridge only has two lanes; therefore, to widen the bridge, the bridge beam is placed on the new pier. Unfortunately, with the strong earthquake, the different parts broke or got thrust out of shape, with the reinforcing steel exposed and twisted, while the machines and tools nearby also got flattened.
The Suhua Improvement Engineering Office notes that luckily the earthquake happened at night and not during the day when the construction workers are working, or the consequences would be hard to imagine. The initial estimate of losses is NT$1 million for one beam, coupled with construction delay, total losses may be up to NT$50 million.
Ma Hsi-jun, Deputy Director, Suhua Improvement Engineering Office: “This damage is not just about money. The impact on the construction period is indeed quite substantial.”
After the earthquake, the personnel from the Suhua Improvement Engineering Office immediately conducted safety inspections and assessed no apparent damage to the old pier and structure. If confirmed, the bridge will reopen at 8 a.m. on March 24. As for the broken beam for the new bridge, it should be transported as soon as possible.