A highway overpass in Wuxi, Jiangsu province collapsed last night, causing three deaths and two injuries as of press time, People’s Daily reported. The accident took place at around 6.10pm at the section of National Highway 312, which runs from Shanghai to Khorgas, Xinjiang.
There were five vehicles driving on the overpass when it caved in and crushed three sedans on the road underneath. An investigation by local authorities into the accident indicated that the overpass collapsed as a result of an overloaded truck.
Image via 澎湃新闻, h/t 新华社
Medical staff and firemen were immediately dispatched to the scene, which led to traffic delays following the event.
According to a report on Toutiao news, a kindergarten teacher and her young daughter were among the three dead.
Watch below to see footage of the incident (VPN off):
The collapsed overpass, which was constructed as a first-rate highway constituting a section of the National Highway 312, opened to traffic in June 2005, according to the Paper. The section of the highway serves as a major thoroughfare in Wuxi and often sees heavy traffic.
Following the accident, there’s heavy debate over the design of the overpass in question. A report by the Wuxi Audit Bureau revealed that the thoroughfare, which includes the now-collapsed overpass, was designed by Jiangsu Traffic Science Institute Company, but the organization made a public announcement this morning that it was not involved in the design of the collapsed overpass.
A construction engineer told Southern Weekend that most overpass highways in China utilize a single-pier design, which is more vulnerable to weight overload, in order to make the most of the land and lower costs of construction.
A truck driver who drove across the overpass yesterday before it collapsed told Southern Weekend reporters that most trucks running on the 312 thoroughfare were overloaded with cargo.
As of press time, roads in the vicinity of the collapsed overpass remain closed.
UPDATE (Friday, October 11 6.33pm CST): This article was updated to include new information regarding the ongoing investigation into the collapsed overpass.
[Cover image via People’s Daily]