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Investigation begun into Hopewell collapse

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The collapse of a 50-metre-long section of the abandoned Hopewell project has prompted and inspection of the entire system.

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A concrete section of the abandoned Hopewell elevated transit project collapsed next to the northbound rail line in Chatuchak district yesterday morning. Wrecked scaffolding blocked one of the tracks and delayed train services. No one was injured. RATTASEEMA PONGSEN


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Hopewell collapse sparks probe

Wassayos Ngamkham,
Amornrat Mahitthirook 
Penchan Charoensuthiphan

An investigation has been launched into the structural integrity of remnants of the abandoned Hopewell concrete pilings after a massive slab measuring six by 50 metres collapsed 20 metres to the ground yesterday.

The incident happened around 8am near Wat Samian Nari temple in Chatuchak district.

Railway officials vowed to conduct a complete inspection of pilings from the Hopewell project before deciding whether to reuse some of the parts for the new Red Line light-rail mass transit project. While the collapse yesterday narrowly missed a train running along the route, no injuries were recorded from the accident.

Debris from the collapse blocked inbound rail links from north Bangkok to the city, disrupting train services. The concrete slab, supported by steel scaffolds and five concrete pillars, was intended for use as part of a station for the Hopewell elevated train project, initiated in 1990 but later abandoned due to financial problems.

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) had hoped to use parts of the concrete pilings partially built as part of the Hopewell project for its multi-billion-baht Red Line, running from Bang Sue to Rangsit.

Transport Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan said engineers from the SRT and the Engineering Institute of Thailand would carry out a complete inspection of the Hopewell pilings to see if they could be used.

"If they are not stable and strong enough, they'll be demolished and will not be used for the construction of the Red Line rail route," he said.

Authorities blamed the collapse on substandard construction and theft of bolts and beams from the steel scaffolding that had helped support the concrete platform.

SRT Governor Yutthana Thapcharoen said train services resumed normally after three hours, as workers cleared debris from the scene.

Mr Yutthana quoted Thanes Veerasiri, the secretary-general of the Engineering Institute of Thailand (EIT), as saying the elevated concrete platform had been improperly cemented to its ground supports, and that the failure of the steel scaffolding had resulted in the collapse.

Once the project was suspended, parts of the steel scaffolds supporting the platforms were stolen by corrupt officials and construction workers, jeopardising the stability of the structures.

The EIT's Mr Thanes said the accident highlighted the dangers that existed across the city from incomplete construction projects.

After the 1997 economic crisis, an estimated 500 construction projects in Bangkok were left incomplete.

While some have since been completed, many others remain concrete and steel skeletons abandoned by their project owners.

"We should have a law that requires owners of suspended buildings or incomplete projects to have an engineer or expert conduct regular structural inspections for the sake of safety," Mr Thanes said.

"Many project owners don't visit them and have no idea their building may collapse one day."

Mr Thanes said the main reason these structures could collapse is that key support materials had been removed, or from simple decay.

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concrete – a hard substance used in building made by mixing cement, sand, small stones, and water คอนกรีต
section – any of the parts into which something is divided ส่วน, ส่วนที่ตัดออก, ส่วนย่อย
abandoned – left and no longer used ที่ถูกละทิ้ง
elevated – raised above the ground, or higher than the surrounding area ซึ่งอยู่ในระดับที่สูงกว่าสิ่งอื่น
(mass) transit – involving the movement of large numbers of people, using buses, trains, etc. การขนส่งมวลชน
collapse – to fall down suddenly พังลงมา  ล้ม, พังครืน
wrecked – damaged or destroyed ถูกทำลาย
scaffolding - a structure of metal poles and wooden boards put against a building of structure for workers to stand on when they want to reach the higher parts of the building นั่งร้าน
delay – to not do something until a later time or to make something happen at a later time ทำให้ช้า, ทำให้หยุดยั้ง, ทำให้เสียเวลา, เลื่อน
injured – hurt in an accident or attack ซึ่งได้รับบาดเจ็บ
spark – to make something happen ก่อให้เกิด
probe – an investigation  การสอบสวน
launch – to start something เริ่มต้น เริ่มทำ
structural integrity – (of a structure) the quality of being complete or whole, without any missing parts; the quality of being in a good condition, without any damage or mistakes ความมั่นคง, ความครบถ้วน, บูรณภาพ
remnants – the remaining parts of something  ส่วนที่เหลืออยู่
piling – a large strong post that is driven into the ground to support a building or other structure เสาเข็ม
massive – very large in size, amount or number ใหญ่โต
slab – a large flat piece of something or a large flat surface แผ่นหนา
incident – something that happens, usually something bad เหตุการณ์
vow – to make a formal and serious promise to do something สาบาน, ปฏิญาณ
inspection – the act of looking closely at something or someone and to check that everything is as it should be; examination การตรวจสอบอย่างละเอียด
debris – the broken pieces that are left when something large has been destroyed ซากปรักหักพัง
block – to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else  ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง
disrupt – to prevent something from continuing as usual or as expected ทำให้ยุ่งเหยิง, ทำให้ยุ่งยาก
pillar – a strong column made of stone, metal or wood which supports part of a building or structure เสาหลัก
intended – planned; wanted to happen  ที่ได้วางแผนไว้ ที่ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น
initiate – to make something start ริเริ่ม
stable – firmly fixed; not likely to move, change or fail มั่นคง
demolish – to completely destroy a building, especially in order to use the land for something else รื้อ (สิ่งก่อสร้าง), ทำลาย
construction – the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. การก่อสร้าง
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
substandard – not as good as you would normally expect, or not good enough to be accepted ต่ำกว่ามาตราฐาน
theft – (the act of) dishonestly taking something which belongs to someone else and keeping it การลักขโมย
bolt –  a piece of metal like a screw without a point which is used with a circle of metal (= a nut ) to fasten things together สลักเกลียว
beams – long thick pieces of metal, concrete, etc. especially used to support weight in a building or other structure เสา
platform – an area next to a railway track where passengers get onto and off trains ชานชาลา
resume – to begin again after stopping for a period of time  เริ่มอีกครั้ง, กลับมาอีกครั้ง
scene – site; a place where something happens or happened สถานที่เกิดเหตุ
quote – to repeat the words that someone else has said or written ยกคำพูดมา
cement – to join two things together using cement, glue, etc. ทำให้ติดกัน
suspend – to stop for a period of time ยกเลิกชั่วคราว, ระงับชั่วคราว
jeopardise – to risk damaging or destroying something important  เป็นอันตรายต่อ,เป็นภัยต่อ,ทำร่าย,ทำอันตราย
highlight – to stress; to made something more noticeable  เน้นย้ำ
incomplete – not having everything that it should have; not finished or complete ซึ่งไม่สมบูรณ์
crisis – a situation that has reached and extremely difficult or dangerous point ช่วงวิกฤต
skeleton – the main structure that supports a building, etc. โครงสร้าง, โครงตึก
key – very important ที่สำคัญ
remove – to take something away เอาออกจาก
decay – the process or result of being destroyed by natural causes or by not being cared for การเน่าเปื่อย

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