NPP legislator blasts New Taipei govt. for neglecting bridge safety standards

NPP lawmaker Huang Kuo-chang slams engineering firm, New Taipei govt. for 'making a joke of people's safety'

Huang Kuo-chang press conference on Oct. 8

Huang Kuo-chang press conference on Oct. 8 (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following the tragic collapse of the Nanfang'ao Bridge in Yilan's Su'ao Township on Oct. 1, New Power Party (NPP) legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) has become an outspoken critic of Taiwan’s bridge safety standards and the private companies tasked with the inspections.

On Tuesday morning (Oct. 8), Huang held a press conference in which he leveled criticism at the lax inspections of important transportation infrastructure. Huang noted that the safety inspections in New Taipei City, which he represents, had been handed over to a private company based in Kaohsiung, CTCI Resources Engineering (萬鼎工程).

After slamming the team responsible for inspections of Nanfang'ao Bridge, Huang published a statement on Facebook before Tuesday's press conference further calling into question the professionalism of the inspection team's leader, Professor Chen Ming-cheng (陳明正). Huang declares that there are serious problems with the oversight of bridge safety in New Taipei City.

In the post, Huang explains that, like Kaohsiung, the New Taipei City government has given the authority to determine whether a bridge is safe for public use as well as the responsibility to conduct regular safety inspections to CTCI Resources Engineering, a firm established by Chen and his partner Chang Tsai-chen (張綵宸). Huang emphasized the need for third-party inspections and called the arrangement between New Taipei and CTCI “outrageous.”

“No wonder the inspections all resulted in perfect scores from the inspectors after they’d been given the contract to inspect the bridges,” said Huang. The NPP legislator said it was ridiculous that New Taipei had spent its money in this way and that it has made the safety of New Taipei residents a joke, reports the Liberty Times.

Calling for accountability, Huang asked the Ministry of Transportation and Communications for immediate inspections of bridges across the country to ensure safety and avoid similar situations in the future.