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Expert rebuts poor workmanship claims by Murray & Roberts in M1 bridge collapse inquiry

Ememrgency personnel at the accident scene after the collapse of a temporary pedestrian bridge next to Grayston Drive onto the M1 highway. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Ememrgency personnel at the accident scene after the collapse of a temporary pedestrian bridge next to Grayston Drive onto the M1 highway. Picture Credit: Gallo Images

The Labour Department’s inquiry into the M1 bridge collapse‚ which killed two people‚ will hear more on allegations that the incident was caused by poor workmanship by main contractor Murray & Roberts.

The inquiry resumed on Thursday with Murray & Roberts leading the expert evidence of Professor Roelf Mostert.

Mostert is the head of the University of Pretoria’s Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering department

The temporary structure supporting the construction of the pedestrian and cycling bridge on Grayston Drive collapsed onto the M1 highway on October 14 last year‚ killing two people and injuring at least 19.

An expert report commissioned by Form-Scaff‚ sub-contracted to supply parts for the support structure‚ suggests that the couplers holding together the scaffolding had failed due to poor workmanship by Murray & Roberts.

A coupler is used to connect two tubes by clamping them together so that they do not slip.

The report‚ by Australian consultants specialising in structural collapse‚ said the couplers were not tightened adequately.

Murray & Roberts was responsible for constructing the temporary structure.

But Mostert said he found no evidence to back the theory that poor workmanship was at the root of the collapse.

Instead he found that the couplers provided by Form-Scaffolding had snapped and the structure could not withstand the force of the wind.

Murray & Roberts spokesperson Ed Jardim said the firm would respond to the report’s allegations of poor workmanship as the inquiry continues.

Form-Scaff is expected to lead evidence with the report next week.

Proceedings have adjourned for the day.

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