Is Peter Brown bridge as unsafe as it looks?

2017-09-21 13:45
The aftermath of a two-vehicle collision on the Peter Brown bridge on Wednesday afternoon. The crash has raised concern over the structural safety of the bridge and how long the bridge will stand until repairs start next year.

The aftermath of a two-vehicle collision on the Peter Brown bridge on Wednesday afternoon. The crash has raised concern over the structural safety of the bridge and how long the bridge will stand until repairs start next year. (Ian Carbutt)

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WATCH: Video shows KZN truck fire that killed two

2016-04-26 11:57

Two people were killed and at least seven others injured when a truck collided with construction vehicles, and caught fire, on the N3 near the Peter Brown off-ramp in Pietermaritzburg on Monday.WATCH

Is the Peter Browne bridge over the N3 really safe? A collision between two vehicles on the bridge on Wednesday afternoon has left some wondering about the bridge’s structural safety and whether it might soon collapse.

A bakkie and a car on Wednesday collided head-on in the one lane left open on the bridge, leaving an elderly man moderately injured and two others with minor injuries.

Half of the bridge was closed toward the end of last year after it was hit by a truck. The collision damaged one of the piers supporting the bridge deck over the N3 highway.

While the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) eastern regional manager, Logashri Sewnarain, on Wednesday assured The Witness that the Peter Brown bridge “is structurally sound”, a local police officer and paramedic have expressed fear that the bridge might soon collapse.

The local police officer, who could not be named, said if another truck had to crash or knock into the bottom of the bridge, it would be “gone”.

A paramedic who attended on Wednesday afternoon’s accident scene also said the bridge looked “unstable” and they did not like “driving over it because it looks like it is about to collapse”.

“Things could end really badly if it does collapse,” said the paramedic.

Sewnarain however, said after the the truck crash the bridge was propped up as part of temporary repairs that were carried out.

“An inspection was carried out today and the bridge is still found to be structurally sound.”

She said there is no need for further temporary measures and it “will not be impeded by the heavy holiday traffic”.

She added that the tender documentation for permanent repairs is currently being processed and the contractor is expected on site in the new year.

Sewnarain said in a previous article by The Witness in July that the long-term repair to the pier would coincide with the Townhill truck lane repair, and be done as part of the same project.

The surface of the truck lane on the N3 down Townhill has a ledge in it, created by the surface asphalt being pushed aside by trucks between the truck lane and the slow lane, just before the Peter Brown off-ramp. She said it was estimated that the repairs would take two months once they began.

KwaZulu Private Ambulance Pietermaritzburg branch manager Colin Watson said Wednesday’s accident had occurred on the bridge where the road has been narrowed down due to road works.

He said the elderly man, who was driving the bakkie, was transported to Northdale hospital for further care.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  car accident

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