Road traffic has been temporarily suspended on the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge, an official bulletin posted to port workers in the Chinese city of Dandong says.
“Following a notification from the Korean side, Korea will be carrying out repairs on the stretch of road on their side of the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge from the 23rd until the 30th of October 2015,” a copy of the notice seen by NK News says.
The bulletin, written by the Chinese border defense inspection office, adds that all vehicular traffic across the bridge will be forbidden while the repairs are carried out.
The notice does not, however, say a train track adjacent to the road will be closed on the bridge.
The partial closure comes just weeks after a full bridge closure caused by a partial collapse of the road surface, suggesting current repair work relates to the strengthening of potentially damaged areas.
A photo of that accident in September showed an overturned truck with its cargo container tipped onto the single train track crossing the bridge.
Another photo, taken after the overturned truck and cargo had been removed, showed damage to the single lane adjacent to the track, with a small area of the road surface appearing to have completely collapsed into the river below.
Following that accident an unverified official notice was posted in Dandong, revealing new weight restrictions and a request that heavy cargoes cross the river by boat or train.
The 1943 Sino-Korean bridge is one of North Korea’s main trade arteries to China, handling well over half the entire volume of trade between the two countries.
A modern, $350 million bridge connecting Dandong to an area near Sinuiju in North Korea was completed last year but remains to be opened.
Satellite imagery indicates that the North Korean side is yet to connect any infrastructure to it.
No official reason has been given for the delay in opening the new bridge, but some analysts have suggested a cooling of relations between Beijing and Pyongyang could be the cause.
Main picture: C. Petersen-Clausen
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