City probes Sandton bridge accident

The City of Johannesburg has launched its own investigation - one of five investigations that are now under way - into the collapse of construction scaffolding over the M1 freeway near Sandton on Wednesday, 14 October.

City probes Sandton bridge accidentExecutive Mayor Parks Tau during one of several visits he made to the site of the scaffolding collapse in the 24 hours following the accident. (Photo: City of Joburg)Johannesburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau spent most of Thursday, 15 October visiting people who were injured and paying his condolences to the families of those who died when scaffolding on the Great Walk Bridge alongside Grayston Drive in Sandton collapsed on Wednesday afternoon.

Two people were killed and 21 others were injured on Wednesday when the scaffolding supporting construction of a pedestrian-cycling bridge across the M1 freeway between Sandton and Alexandra collapsed, leading to the closure of traffic in both directions.

The freeway was reopened at about 3pm on Thursday, almost 24 hours after the accident took place.

At a press conference on Thursday, Mayoral Spokesperson Phindile Chauke announced that the City of Johannesburg had launched its own investigation into the accident.

"We have launched our investigation because we contracted Murray & Roberts and we feel responsible," Chauke told reporters.

The City's investigation is one of five that have been launched into the accident. The others will be conducted by the contractor Murray & Roberts, the Department of Labour, the South African Police Service, and the Engineering Council of South Africa.

"Everything at the moment as to what happened is speculation," Chauke said.

Mayor Tau visited the scene of the accident on Wednesday moments after it had happened and promised that the City would take action against anyone found to have been negligent.

He said construction of the bridge, which will cater for the roughly 10 000 Alexandra residents who walk or cycle to and from Sandton daily, would resume at a later stage.

The bridge, which was scheduled to be open in October 2016, forms part of the Rea Vaya phase 1C infrastructure project and the Louis Botha Avenue Corridor of Freedom programme.

The 250 metre-long concrete bridge will have an 8 metre-wide deck that will accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists. The pedestrian and cycling lanes will each be 3 metres wide, with a 2-metre barrier in the middle to accommodate lighting and landscaping. Public art that tells the history of Alexandra will be displayed alongside the bridge.