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Companies blame each other for M1 bridge collapse

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

Slow‚ limited work on the Grayston Drive pedestrian and cycling bridge continues‚ while the Department of Labour’s inquiry into the M1 bridge collapse is ongoing.

Murray & Roberts spokesperson Ed Jardim said the contractor’s work on either side of the M1 highway — constructing walkways — proceeds.

The area affected by the collapse is off-limits‚ though‚ as it is still technically under investigation. This means no work on the bridge itself is able to continue.

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

“We’re not [working] anywhere near the highway‚” Jardim said.

Jardim said the remnants of the collapsed support structure are being stored at a “laydown area” in Johannesburg. The wreckage had been moved by engineering services company MegChem.

The affected area is cordoned-off and under the watchful eye of a security company‚ he added.

On Thursday‚ the inquiry‚ expected to rule on who is responsible for the fatal incident‚ heard evidence from Murray & Roberts’ expert witness Professor Roelf Mostert.

Mostert said inferior couplers‚ supplied by company Form-Scaff‚ used in the temporary support structure’s scaffolding had snapped‚ which may have initiated the collapse. A coupler is used to connect two tubes by clamping them together so they do not slip.

Form-Scaff is expected to argue‚ however‚ that it was shoddy workmanship by Murray & Roberts that caused the collapse‚ when its workers failed to adequately tighten the couplers.

The inquiry’s other roleplayers include the City of Johannesburg‚ represented by the Johannesburg Development Agency‚ the Engineering Council of SA and engineering consulting company Royal HaskoningDHV.

Legal counsel for Form-Scaff‚ advocate William la Grange‚ will on Friday continue cross-examination of Mostert. – TMG Digital

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