Fake building material imperils new railway
Fake construction material is jeopardizing the safety of China's newest high-speed railway, a Chinese newspaper says. An investigation by the newspaper found that large quantities of bogus material had been used in several hundred kilometres of a US$12-billion high-speed railway between the cities of Wuhan and Guangzhou. The China Economic Times said the scam by unscrupulous suppliers could lead to cracking in the railway's concrete supports, creating a "great danger" to the railway. The newspaper report has triggered an investigation by the Chinese Railways Ministry. The report is the latest revelation in the widening scandal over shoddy and hazardous goods in China. In the railway scam, the newspaper reported that the railway's contractors had been tricked into buying large quantities of fake or deficient coal fly ash, a common ingredient in concrete. The newspaper said the bogus material was discovered in March by a construction engineer, who noticed a blockage in a pipe where concrete was being poured. Such blockages are uncommon, and he suspected it was caused by phony fly ash. The fake material looks identical to the genuine material, and only laboratory testing can tell them apart. The high-speed railway, designed to carry trains at speeds up to 350 kilometres an hour between two of China's biggest cities, is currently under construction. It is described as the longest and most technologically advanced high-speed railway in China, and it has been praised lavishly by the Chinese news media.
(Globe and Mail 070707)
The mantra "you're crazy to buy anything built during an economic boom" rings so true once again. With all of this unmanaged growth in China over the past few years, the cracks in the foundation are starting to show, so to speak. All the make-a-quick-yuan products are flooded on the market all over the world now that China's is the world's manufacturing plant. If this issue happened in Canada, I doubt that the construction project would be allowed to continue until the matter was investigated thoroughly. But with this being China, I'm sure they will forge ahead, crashes and casualties and tragedy notwithstanding.