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Section of Sichuan-Tibet highway collapses in Tibet

(Xinhua)

08:20, April 23, 2012

BOMI, Tibet, April 22 (Xinhua) -- More than 150 vehicles and over 400 people were stranded on a section of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway in southwest China's Tibet autonomous region Sunday following a roadbed collapse.

The collapse occurred at about 8 a.m. Sunday on the Sichuan-Tibet Highway in the Suotong Village section in Bomi County, Tibet. Local police said that the collapse occurred after a long-term weakening of the roadbed due to the proximity of a barrier lake.

Armed police and traffic police have been dispatched to the scene to clear and maintain the road, evacuate people and conduct traffic restrictions in the area.

This section of the road lies beside a river, and has a complex geological condition. The continuous rainfall and water seeping into the roadbed from a nearby river led to the collapse of the 70-meter-long stretch of roadbed. The remaining one meter could crumble at any time, said Zhang Zhanwu, chief commander of the repairing teams.

Forty policemen, two excavators and two loaders have been organized to assist with rescue efforts.

Traffic is expected to resume at about 8 p.m., the police said.

This section of the highway collapsed back in July, 2010. An 800-meter-long stretch of roadbed and a 76-meter-long bridge were destroyed, leading to a 16-day traffic disruption at that time.

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