Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

China Put the “Killer” in “Killer Construction

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 17, 2012

Photo of high quality Chinese construction from mop.com
I just hope I am on that bridge that the Chinese made for San Francisco when the next shaker hits. I am sure it will be ok…..

4 Responses to “China Put the “Killer” in “Killer Construction”

  1. Brewskie said

    I’ve heard of roads in China that buckled, or broke out with “pot hole acne” mere DAYS after the ribbon cutting.

  2. Brewskie said

    I’ve commented before on China’s dams, but this long tooooo post is TOOOOO good to pass up….


    “On June 18, 2011, about three hundred leading experts in China’s water resources and hydropower industry gathered in Yichang, Hubei Province, to attend the Annual Conference held by the CNCLD. The participants included Wang Shucheng, former Minister of Water Resources and current chairman of the CNCLD, and Lu Youmei, member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and former general manager of the Three Gorges Corporation.


    During his presentation at the CNCLD meeting, Zhou Jianping, chief engineer of the China Hydropower Engineering Consulting Group, showed the audience about ten photos of different dam accidents. These images, never before disclosed, shocked the general audience, but especially reporters from the media. Afterwards, reporters from Southern Weekend did a great deal of research, but could find little detail about the incidents on the Internet.

    The first picture was about the Ertan Hydropower Station built on the Yalong River (a tributary of the Yangtze, in Sichuan Province), whose spillway tunnel was completely destroyed by flood waters.


    Another photo caused a buzz in the audience: the flood spillway of the Sanbanxi dam in Jinping County, in southeast Guizhou Province, was totally destroyed on July 26, 2007, after only 13 hours of operation. Apparently, there was a problem with the quality of construction, causing as much as 13,000 cubic meters of concrete and rock to wash away, leaving a pit as deep as 11 meters, or the equivalent of a three-story high building. According to Zhou Jianping, the consequences could have been disastrous if floods had occurred at the same time and the operators were unable to close the sluice gates.

    At the Jinghong dam, built on the Lancang-Mekong River and lauded as one of the most important hydro dams in Yunnan Province, the flood discharge channel twice suffered serious damage from floods, once in 2008 and then again in 2009. As the picture illustrated, the channel was torn open like a big mouth as if blown up by a bomb, with steel bars hanging around like withered plants.

    Another of the incidents resulted in casualties: as Zhou Jianping explained, the road leading to the site of the Jishixia dam on the Yellow River in Qinghai Province suddenly collapsed one evening as a result of silt being discharged. Drivers of two vehicles unknowingly drove along the damaged road, crashing into the Yellow River. At least eight people are still missing.

    In his speech to the conference, Zhou Jianping concluded that the accidents were the result of low standards, including inadequately prepared surveys, unscientific design and construction plans, mismanaged construction, absence of quality control and supervision, and even fraud in building materials. All of these factors have contributed to the poor quality of dam projects and compromised the safety of dams.


    Dams under construction are also encountering problems. The Xiluodu hydropower station, for instance, China’s second largest hydropower dam on the Jinsha River, has been experiencing construction problems going back to 2010. Engineers and workers on the construction site found that, after pouring hundreds of cubic meters of concrete, the template was incorrectly positioned. A person familiar with the situation said that the financial cost of the mistake was not big, but the time lost to removing the concrete (which had already solidified), and re-pouring it, seriously affected the project’s schedule.

    According to a 2009 report by the Sinohydro Engineering Bureau 3 Company Limited, entitled, “A summary report on technological research dealing with problems at hydraulic structures,” problems have occurred at a number of dams: cracks were discovered in section 6 of the Danjiangkou dam (on the Han River, a tributary of the Yangtze [ii]; leaks occurred in the Shiban hydrodam structure in Fuling (formerly in Sichuan Province and currently a District of Chongqing Municipality[iii]; leaks also occurred in the Tianshengqiao tunnel of the Erlangba hydrodam in Shaanxi Province; and concrete defects have been found in the shiplock of the Three Gorges dam project. In fact, according to a 2006 survey of Three Gorges, 733 cracks, with a total length of 4,688 meters, on both the eastbound and westbound channels of the shiplock, have leaked water. But, the survey said, these cracks were subsequently repaired in order to meet the design requirements “through professional treatment.”

    Here’s a couple of dam-related articles I’ve posted before:




    Also, I should be popping in more often to help reveal the charade of China’s communist mystique.

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