Nanfang'ao Bridge before collapse
|Locale||Su'ao, Yilan County, Taiwan|
|Maintained by||Taiwan International Ports Corporation|
|Total length||140 m (459 ft)|
|Width||15 m (49 ft)|
|Height||18 m (59 ft)|
|Collapsed||1 October 2019|
|Replaces||Old Nanfang'ao Bridge|
The Nanfang'ao Bridge (Chinese: 南方澳大橋; pinyin: Nánfāng'ào Dàqiáo) was a bridge in Nanfang'ao Fishing Port, Su'ao Township, Yilan County, Taiwan. It was the only steel single-arch bridge in Taiwan and was maintained by Taiwan International Ports Corporation. Construction began in 1996, and was finished in 1998. The bridge collapsed on 1 October 2019, killing 6 people and injuring 12.
The bridge was designed by MAA Consultants (Chinese: 亞新工程顧問股份有限公司) and built by Yilan County Government. The construction started in 1996 and was commissioned by Ministry of Transportation and Communications. It was finally opened to the public in 1998 and was transferred to Keelung Port Bureau (now Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC)) for its management. The bridge was constructed to replace the former lower bridge around the same area so that large fishing vessels could pass through underneath it.
Since its opening, it was only inspected once by Chien Hsin University of Science and Technology in 2016. During the inspection, it was found that the bridge's expansion joints were "obviously warped, damaged and sagging." From 2017 to 2018, TIPC spent NT$10 million to clean the expansion joints and other reinforcement works.
The collapsed Nanfang'ao Bridge
|Date||1 October 2019|
|Location||Su'ao, Yilan County, Taiwan|
On 1 October 2019 at 09:30 the bridge collapsed, injuring more than 20 people, many of whom were on fishing vessels in the harbor below. Video shows an oil tanker truck nearly making it across to the other side when the bridge collapsed, sending the truck hurtling into the water, whereupon it burst into flames. There were in total 6 people on the bridge during the collapse. The collapsing bridge damaged 3 fishing boats beneath it, injuring and trapping a number of migrants workers who were on the boats.
Local authorities requested the armed forces to help in the search and rescue operation, who were then followed by the Coast Guard Administration, Ministry of National Defense and National Airborne Service Corps. President Tsai Ing-wen said, "We hope to safely rescue all in the shortest time to minimise the damages".
Search and rescue operation teams faced difficulties in finding the missing people due to the underwater location which had low visibility. As of 3 October 2019, there had been 6 confirmed deaths. All of the bodies had been brought to the Su'ao Branch of Taipei Veterans General Hospital. The collapsed bridge caused 500 fishing vessels to be trapped inside the harbor.
The day before the bridge collapsed, the area was hit by Typhoon Mitag, and struck by a 3.8 magnitude earthquake at 13:54 in the early morning before the collapse. However, MAA Consultants are not able to determine the actual cause as the crucial broken parts of the structure have yet to be recovered.
|Republic of China||3|
Post collapse recovery, investigations and reactions
The oil tanker driver, 61 year-old Zhang Jianchang (張建昌), was rescued from the burning wreckage immediately after the collapse by four workers from a nearby petrol station located 30 meters away. Zhang suffered multiple fractures, spinal, and internal injuries. He underwent emergency surgery and was warded in the intensive care unit at the Luodong Bo’ai Hospital. As of 31 October 2019, Zhang was recovering from his injuries.
The armed forces deployed a floating platform to retrieve debris and the boats stuck under the bridge. The harbour remained sealed while the search and rescue operation was ongoing. After recovering the last body, the response teams turned their attention to clearing debris which impeded river navigation. In the morning of 3 October, fishing boats could navigate out of the harbour. President Tsai promised for a full thorough investigation of the incident and that all bridges in Taiwan would undergo inspection. The chairman of TIPC, Wu Chung-rung (吳宗榮) resigned in response to the collapse.
Most of the arches of the bridge were cleared on 10 October 2019, totaling 320 tonnes.
In November 2020, Taiwan Transportation Safety Board published the final investigation regarding the collapse of the bridge. The findings were that the bridge collapsed due to corrosion, lack of proper maintenance and lack of reparation. By the time of the incident, the bridge had only 22-27% of functional cross-section area.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications stated that a new bridge will be built at the same spot within 3 years. The design and tender for the new bridge will be overseen by Public Construction Commission.
Due to the fact that many migrant fishermen sleep inside their fishing vessels during night time, a dangerous condition in the case of similar bridge collapse incident to happen again, the Labor Affairs Department of Yilan County Government started the planning to build onshore accommodation for those migrant workers at Nanfang'ao Fishing Port. The project will be broken down into three phases and last for three years, with the ultimate goal of providing the accommodation for all of the migrant fishermen.
The construction of the new bridge to replace the collapsed one started in October 2020. It is overseen by Directorate General of Highways. The cost of the construction is NT$848.5 million and is expected to be completed by 2022.
The bridge was a single tied-arch bridge made of steel. It had a length of 140 meters, a width of 15 meters and a passage height for vessels of 18 meters. The bridge was designed to last 50 years.
The bridge was decorated with images of fish, shrimps, and crabs, representing the port.
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