The repair work on a pivotal road in Beijing's planned central business district following a land cave-in early Tuesday will last at least three days, the emergency repairs team have predicted.
The cave-in, which was caused at 2:00 a.m. by a sewage leak at the southeastern corner of Jingguangqiao Bridge on the eastern section of the cross-city Third Ring road, left a rectangular pit some 20 meters long, 10 meters wide and 10 meters deep on the eastern side of the trunk road, Xinhua reporter witnessed at the site Tuesday afternoon.
The leak also flooded the No. 10 Route of Beijing subway now under construction. No casualty was reported thanks to timely evacuation of the construction workers.
Residents of a nearby building have also been evacuated to a hotel for safety considerations.
Since midday, road workers have been stuffing sacks of loess into three sewage wells nearby, fearing that more cave-ins might occur if the underground sewage is drained all-too-suddenly.
The municipal construction, transport and telecom arms of the municipal authorities have all joined the emergency repairs.
Technicians are measuring the land subsidence at Jingguangqiao Bridge every 20 minutes.
The city has imposed temporary traffic control measures by halting two-way traffic on the eastern section of the Third Ring and Chaoyang Road with the Jingguangqiao Bridge at the center.
This has significantly slowed down the traffic flows on these two roads, though most citizens are still on the new year holiday. Many residents in nearby communities told Xinhua they feared traffic would be too congested on Wednesday, the first working day of the new year.
To ease the traffic bottleneck, Beijing's traffic management authority has for the first time sent SMS messages to inform cell phone subscribers of the event. Citizens have also been told to bypass the cave-in section via TV, radio and the Internet.
The accident and repair work have not affected power or water supply in the area. Not far off the site, construction is going on at the new edifice of China Central Television.
The local environment watchdog said the sewage leak was unlikely to pollute nearby rivers seriously because the conduit links directly to a sewage plant, while only rain water flows directly into rivers.
Jingguangqiao Bridge, located in the central business district in the eastern part of Beijing's city proper, is named after the Jingguang Center, one of Beijing's earliest office buildings and once its tallest skyscraper.
(Xinhua News Agency January 4, 2006)