The building of the “Great Walk” bridge was initiated by the Joburg Development Agency and City of Joburg and was started after a traffic and transport study was conducted in the area, Sandton Chronicle reported.
The study indicated that at least 10 000 pedestrians travelled between Alexandra and Sandton on a daily basis. The pedestrians travel approximately 5.2 kilometres along Rautenbach Avenue and Roosevelt Street to Grayston Drive, leading into Sandton.
In a bid to improve access between these areas, the city council planned to build 5.2 kilometres of walking and cycling lanes including on the bridge over the M1. Construction of the bridge began in March earlier this year.
Below is a video depicting what the end product of the bridge would have looked like.
The M1 remained closed Thursday morning while investigations into the collapse continued. Officials from the department of labour were on the scene to probe the cause of the bridge collapse.
Transport minister calls for thorough probe
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has called on authorities to conduct a “thorough investigation” into the collapse of the “Great Walk” bridge. Peters appealed for “calm and patience” while the highway remains closed to allow investigations to continue and the clean-up operations to be completed.
The structure erected to enable the construction of a pedestrian bridge over the M1 freeway at the Grayston Drive off-ramp collapsed on Wednesday killing two and injuring 23 – one of the injured died Thursday.
The bridge,named the Great Walk, was due to be completed by the end of the month. It was being constructed for the estimated 10 000 pedestrians who cross the Grayston off-ramp from Alexandra to Sandton and vice versa daily.
Construction company Murray and Roberts, the Department of Labour and the City of Johannesburg have launched investigations to determine the exact cause of the incident. Peters on Thursday said there was a need to unearth the reasons behind the tragic incident in order to prevent a recurrence in the future.
She said the construction of the bridge was an important aspect of the overall development of economic infrastructure currently underway to improve access to Sandton.
“Sandton is a critical economic hub, not only for South Africa, but the continent and the world at large. It’s for this reason it’s called ‘the richest square mile in Africa’. Seamless accessibility into Sandton is critical for both motorists and pedestrians hence the need for such infrastructure,” said the Minister.
Peters commended the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Provincial Government for their swift response to the incident, adding that availing free public transport services to affected people was an act of proactive leadership.
“I wish to convey my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the families of the people who sadly perished due to the incident. I equally wish a speedy recovery to those who sustained injuries,” said Peters.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura has also expressed his condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and wished a speedy recovery to those who sustained injuries.
– Caxton News Service