A 31-kilometer section of the new S207 highway in Gansu, an 8.7 billion RMB project ($1.36 billion USD), is already being repaired for cracks mere months after opening for service. The 235-kilometer Tianding Expressway (天定高速) runs from Tianshui (天水) to Dingxi (定西) in Gansu, and was completed on May 31st.
However, China Daily reports that there were already complaints of cracks arriving as early as late June, with some measuring up to ten meters. Repairs are currently being handled by the same contractors initially tasked with building the road, and drivers meanwhile have been advised to slow down to 20km/h in certain sections.
Could the road have failed so quickly due to penny-pinching? Tan Yingpeng of Gansu’s communications office dismisses the notion that cheap materials were the cause of the road’s premature dilapidation, despite the fact that an average of 37 million RMB was spent for each kilometer of the highway, when the usual cost is approximately 100 million RMB.
Instead, the blame is being placed on “lax supervision”, and the failure to roll an asphalt layer with sufficient firmness.
Meanwhile, the Chinese internet is already calling it the “Washboard Road” (搓板路), with a neat little couplet to match: “When you’re in Gansu, your car is screwed!” (汽车跳, 甘肃到!) Yes, we know that’s not an exact translation, but “When your car jumps, you’re in Gansu!” just doesn’t have the same weidao to it.