A road in Beijing has suffered its second land cave-in this year.
Officials were called to the Third Ring Road at Jingguang Bridge on Sunday morning.
They discovered a drainpipe had leaked from an area southeast of the bridge and caused a small cave-in. An area of about 50 metres along the frontage of the ring road was flooded.
It was less than 100 metres away from the site of a major cave-in on January 3, when a leaking sew caused a 20 metre-long, 10 metre- wide and 10 metre-deep hole and flooded one of the construction sites of Beijing subway No 10 line. Traffic in the area was affected for two weeks.
Police cordoned off the new area within 30 minutes of the leak on Sunday and all related departments, including the tap water company, the heating company, the landscaping administration and the water authority, arrived to figure out the cause.
Water valves were turned off nearby, but the leak still did not stop. The tap water company then used equipment to dig up the ground and found the water was from broken pipes used to pump water out of the tunnel underneath the road where the subway line is under construction.
The pipes were built for the subway's construction and are not part of the city's overall drain system, according to Yu Yaping, chief of the publicity department of the Beijing Water Authority, which takes care of the city's drain system.
"The cuts of the pipes looked neat, and it is likely that the pipes were cut by some bulldozers or other machineries during the construction of the subway.
Yu said Beijing's urban drain system remains sound in general, as most of the facilities are less than 10 years old.
The accident did not affect the traffic seriously. Only one of the pipes was found to be leaking.
The accident raises concern at the co-ordination in the construction and management of the city's sophisticated underground facilities, ranging from optical wires to gas pipes.
The reporter approached the Beijing Construction Committee and the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning and they both declined to comment, claiming the accident on Sunday was not their responsibility.
(China Daily February 28, 2006)