Ministry Blames Fatal Bridge Collapse On Outdated Design

By Thazin Hlaing 5 April 2018

YANGON — The collapse of the Myaungmya Bridge in Irrawaddy Region on Sunday was the result of an outdated design, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Construction on Wednesday.

U Aung Myat Oo, a deputy director-general for the ministry’s bridge department in charge of maintenance, told The Irrawaddy that it had been difficult to inspect the bridge because of its outdated design.

“The bridge was outdated because it was built decades ago. The last section of steel cable was laid in concrete and this caused difficulties in inspecting it. The cable loosened and it collapsed into the river. It was its outdated design that caused the problem,” he said.

“Suspension cables are not laid in concrete in bridges that were built later. They are attached to the tower with nuts and bolts and can be seen easily. They can be checked easily,” he added

The bridge collapsed because the cable in the concrete of the bridge tower became rusted and eventually broke, the ministry statement said.

The bridge had to be repaired immediately after it was built because one of its towers, which weighed 8,500 tons, sank into the ground and tilted 7 inches toward the river instead of 11 inches toward the bank as it should have, the statement added

It said the bridge had been checked regularly and that monthly inspections were carried out since it turned 20 years old in 2016.

The bridge collapsed on Sunday morning while a 16-ton truck was passing over it. The two people in the vehicle died at the scene.

Bridges in Myanmar are examined twice a year for maintenance and measures have been taken by the Ministry of Construction to prevent the collapse of any other suspension bridges in Myanmar, the statement said.

The Myaungmya Bridge was built in 1994 and inaugurated in 1996. It had stayed in use for 22 consecutive years.

The ministry told the public not to worry about the other 29 suspension bridges around the country because it has carried out maintenance work on them regularly.

Translated from Burmese by Myint Win Thein.