Johannesburg bridge collapse: Safety MMC says it was a 'disaster waiting to happen'

5th October 2023

By: News24Wire


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The City of Johannesburg's MMC for Public Safety, Mgcini Tshwaku, warned that the collapse of a pedestrian bridge on Wednesday would have turned into a major disaster if it occurred during peak hour.

The bridge, owned by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), collapsed while people were crossing it. They narrowly escaped serious injury.

It is at least 50 years old and hundreds of people use it daily to cross from Jeppestown, east of the Johannesburg CBD, to factories near the M2 highway.

It's understood that a man may have to undergo an amputation at the ankle due to the severity of the injuries he sustained.

Paramedics at the scene of the collapse said a woman had also sustained soft-tissue injuries.

Tshwaku, who was at the scene, said if the collapse had happened in peak hour, when hundreds of people usually use the bridge and the trains are running, it would have been a mass-casualty incident.

Tshwaku, who has a background in engineering, said the collapse happened because of vibrational fatigue caused by the movement of the trains underneath it.

He added that the bridge had recently begun to tilt.

According to PRASA, the collapse was under investigation.

It said the line to the East Rand had recently been recovered, and that test trains were running when the collapse happened.

The line was prioritised for rebuilding in this financial year.

Tshwaku added that, even though it was not the City's property, he and Transport MMC Kenny Kunene had raised the issue of bridges potentially collapsing.

"We have flagged a number of bridges that have the potential to collapse. This was not on that list and is not the property of the City. But it was part of the disaster waiting to happen," he said.

He added:

We should have done better; [the bridge] was tilting.

Edited by News24Wire




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