Five days after the collapse of a bridge structure on the M1 Highway near the Grayston off-ramp in Sandton, Murray & Roberts (M&R) contracts manager Lucas Baars told a meeting that missing bolts on a key assembly played no role in the accident.
But that was questioned by the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) that contracted M&R for the construction of the bridge.
M&R was also accused of deviating from the detailed drawings for the scaffolding that supported the structure.
Two people were killed and 19 injured when the temporary works collapsed on vehicles travelling on the highway in October last year.
At a sitting of the Department of Labour’s inquiry into the incident yesterday, JDA project manager engineer Siyabonga Genu said Baars concluded at a meeting on October 19 that the missing bolts did not affect the structure.
The bolts were supposed to join two pre-assembled halves of the lattice girder – the horizontal structure above the highway that would provide support for the pouring of the bridge slab later.
The two halves were pre-assembled at Form-Scaff’s premises and transported to the construction site.
Genu said M&R was responsible for bolting the two assemblies together.
M&R as principal contractor, JDA as client, Royal HaskoningDHV as the JDA’s principal agent and consultant, and Form-Scaff as supplier of the material used for the construction for the temporary works, made submissions.
With the exception of JDA, the other three parties read only a summary of their reports into the record, thereby avoiding divulging the full detail to the media.
Commissioner Lennie Samuel said he expected the parties to have presented and read into the record what had been submitted to him 11 days before.
That, he said, “would have cleared up uncertainties and informed the house” of processes followed.
He ruled that the written reports may not be disclosed to the media or any other party, but instructed Form-Scaff to read its full statement into the record.
The next sitting will be on April 19.