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Traffic safety assessment in Lanzhou released

By Cao Chen in Shanghai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-11-18 18:55

Photo taken on Nov 3, 2018 shows the site of a traffic accident at Lanzhou south toll station of Lanzhou-Haikou expressway in northwest China's Gansu province. [Photo/IC]

The location of the Lanzhou South Toll Station on the Lanzhou-Lintao highway section of the G75 Lanzhou-Haikou expressway is justified to be in line with design specifications, according to the local government’s statement issued on Sunday, after a safety assessment on the section.

The assessment was conducted by the Engineering Design and Research Institute affiliated to Chongqing Jiaotong University after a major car accident that killed 15 people and injured 36 happened on the Lanzhou-Lintao highway on Nov 3.

The report said the building environment of the Lanzhou-Lintao highway section in Lanzhou, Northwest China's Gansu province, is pretty tough - located in the Yellow River Basin, surrounded by mountains, and with a maximum height difference of 1,057 meters on the section of road.

Lanzhou South Toll Station is on the up-to-17-kilometer-long continuous downhill section of the highway.

If the station were moved uphill, it would be on a steeper road. If the station were relocated downhill, the steep downhill slope from its beginning at Qidaoliang Tunnel to the station would be longer, which would be more dangerous, the report noted.

The assessment said the location of the toll station now is proper. The five additional escapelanes and one emergency lane on the highway also meet the technical standards for highway engineering.

Other details concerning the highway, including maintenance work, signs, and monitoring facilities, also are in line with related specifications.

However, the fact that the continuous downhill section of the Lanzhou-Lintao highway has led to several serious traffic accidents since it opened to the public in 2004. Most were caused by heavy trucks prone to brake failure, overloading, or drunk driving.

Based on data from the local public security department published in Gansu Daily, there have been 220 accidents on the downhill section of the highway by 2012, resulting in a total of 42 deaths and 55 people injured.

The most recent accident happened on the night of Nov 3, when a tower-crane truck crashed into a heavy box truck, then into a line of 31 minibuses on the sectional road, leaving 33 vehicles damaged, just 50 meters from the Lanzhou South Toll Station.

Investigation by local police revealed the major cause was brake failure in the vehicle. Local government has strengthened road traffic control to prevent major road accidents on the downhill sections on the Lanzhou-Haikou expressway. Trucks also are forbidden to overtake other cars on the accident-prone road.

At present, the local highway management department is taking measures to enhance alert facility, including the installation of loudspeakers, flash indicator belts, and road lights to prompt driving safety.

Also, authorities will optimize the road network around Lanzhou. The construction of a ring expressway in southern Lanzhou will be completed by the end of December, and when the time comes, heavy vehicles will enter the city through the ring roads and overpasses, instead of the continuous downhill section.

The report said the investigation of the recent accident and highway safety conditions is still in progress, and will be extended to a more thorough safety evaluation of all highways in Gansu province.

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