M1 bridge collapse kills two

The collapsed structure, reportedly a pedestrian crossing, was blocking the north and southbound lanes of the M1 highway. (EWN Reporter via Twitter)

The collapsed structure, reportedly a pedestrian crossing, was blocking the north and southbound lanes of the M1 highway. (EWN Reporter via Twitter)

Paramedics have confirmed that at least two people have died as a temporary scaffolding structure, used as a bridge over the M1 highway for cyclists and pedestrians, collapsed in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Wednesday afternoon.

“There are 23 people who are injured and two are dead,” said Johannesburg EMS spokesperson, Robert Mulaudzi. 

Earlier, ER24 said in a statement that at least 17 people were injured, while Netcare 911 said on Twitter that 15 people were injured – five critically. 

Mulaudzi told News24 that three vehicles were trapped under the collapsed structure but all the occupants of had been extricated from the vehicles. 

None of those injured were children. 

Murray & Roberts, the company responsible for the construction, said it was investigating the incident.

Company spokesperson Ed Jardim said they did not immediately have all the details of the incident, but they had sent people to the scene.

“We have not been able to look at the cause as yet. At the moment, we are concentrating on ensuring that if there are any people injured, they are attended to quickly,” said Jardim.

A motorist told Eyewitness News that he saw the structure crash on to the car behind him.

According to an eNCA report, a minibus taxi was trapped underneath.

The red structure, which was reportedly meant to be a pedestrian crossing, was blocking both the north and southbound lanes of the highway.

The collapse of the bridge happened as the City of Johannesburg promoted the Ecomobility World Festival, which encouraged motorists to park their cars, cycle, walk and use public transport to get around Sandton. 


Facts about the collapsed bridge

  • The bridge is named the Great Walk Bridge.
  • It is under construction by Murray & Roberts.
  • Construction began in March and was expected to be completed in October 2016.
  • It is intended to be a 5km pedestrian and cycling path joining Alexandra township and the Sandton central business district.
  • An estimated 10 000 people walk and cycle between the two areas daily, according to the Johannesburg Development Agency.
  • Plans were to install lighting, benches, hawkers’ stalls and CCTV cameras.
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