Death toll rises to three in Grayston bridge collapse

By Drum Digital
15 October 2015

The City of Joburg has received a report of a third death following the collapse of a bridge over the M1 highway near Sandton.

"We have received a report that a third person has died but once we complete the site inspection we will be going to hospital to confirm," Mayor Parks Tau's spokesperson Phindile Chauke told News24.

The city's emergency management services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi, though, told News24 that only two people have died thus far from the collapse, with the third person in a critical condition in hospital.

The number of injured remained at 21, with five of those critically injured, he said.

Chauke said around 80% of the debris had been cleared by 08:15, with the city anticipating the highway to be clear for afternoon peak traffic.

Earlier, Tau reiterated the same message to journalists at the Sandton fire station next to Grayston Drive, a short distance from the collapse site.

As a result of the collapse, which happened on Wednesday afternoon, West Street, which had been closed for the EcoMobility Festival, has been reopened, the traffic lights on Maude Street would be switched back on, with metro police manning intersections in the Sandton CBD.

The festival itself has not been cancelled or suspended, with certain roads opened up in the Sandton CBD to help ease traffic pressure in the area.

The M1 south has been closed from the Buccleuch interchange where the N1, N3 and M1 meet, with traffic diverted down the two national highways. The city warned of heavy traffic pressure, especially from Fourways, Linbro Park and Midrand.

The M1 north has been closed from the Athol Oaklands off-ramp, with traffic diverted onto arterial and surrounding roads.

The concrete Grayston bridge remained open to traffic to crossover the highway. Pointsmen have also been deployed at the Rivonia N1 off-ramp to help manage the expected heavy traffic.

Tau said the city had made available free bus services on Thursday via the Gautrain buses, Metrobus, and Putco, and had increased capacity on the Gautrain to help alleviate traffic.

On Wednesday, construction company Murray & Roberts, responsible for the construction of the scaffolding, said in a statement there was still no clarity on the cause. Its directors and CEO had gone to the scene, with the immediate priority ensuring those affected were taken care of.

Source: News24

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