JOHANNESBURG – Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi says an independent structural engineer will now assess the N3 pedestrian bridge collapse that left five people injured.
The collapse happened at the Geldenhuys interchange in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The N3 is still closed in both directions and could stay that way until the weekend, which could result in major delays for commuters from Thursday.
Vadi says only after the investigation is completed can the structure be demolised and the debris cleared.
He’s urged motorists to avoid the highway completely.
“The onramp, offramp and the freeway are completely closed and our assessment is that it could take anything from 24 to 48 hours to clear the site. There will be massive traffic congestion.”
However, work continues to clear debris from the highway.
Deputy Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga was on site earlier to assess efforts to reopen the highway.
Concrete breakers and hydraulic cutters are being used to dismantle the collapsed bridge.
Chikunga says operations will not stop until the highway can be reopened.
“For now, we think we are in control of the situation and there’s no traffic as it’s being diverted. We continue to call on drivers to not use the road.”
She has wished those injured a speedy recovery.
OFFICIALS WANT IT REOPENED ASAP:
Ekurhuleni emergency services say they do not want to keep the N3 highway closed any longer than necessary.
Spokesperson William Ntladi says the highway carries an enormous amount of traffic in peak hours and officials want to reopen it as soon as possible.
“As soon as the concrete is removed and all the necessary inspections have been conducted on site, then the freeway will be opened for traffic.”
Ntladi says investigations into the cause of the collapse will continue, even after the road has been reopened.
He says the progress being made is phenomenal and cars could be back on the highway before the weekend.
This is the second bridge collapse in Gauteng in under two years, with two people being killed when a structure collapsed over the M1 near Grayston Drive in October 2015.
Foto – Five people have been injured after a pedestrian bridge collapsed along the N3 Geldenhuys Interchange.
By: Pelane Phakgadi – Sowetan LIVE, 09-08-2017