M1/Grayston Drive inquiry postponed to May

Due to technical challenges affecting proceedings – Department of Labour.

The sitting of the M1/Grayston Drive structural bridge collapse inquiry that was scheduled for end March has been postponed, the Department of Labour said in a statement on Tuesday.

The bridge collapsed on October 14, 2015, and led to the death of two people, while 19 other persons were injured.

Read: M1 bridge collapse: How it might have happened

The department flagged “technical challenges affecting the proceedings” as reason for the postponement.

Proceedings of the inquiry were brought to a halt on August 29, 2016, by presiding officer Lennie Samuel, when one of the interested parties had on “short notice” made a request for additional information from an expert witness representing Form-Scaff.

The expert witness in question, Gary Farrow – a mechanical engineer residing in Australia, was still on the stand providing testimony. The inquiry felt the request could not be agreed to because the information requested could not be secured immediately as the witness was residing abroad. 

Farrow is expected to testify when the inquiry resumes.

Form-Scaff, which provides scaffolding, framework and associated services to the construction industry, was one of the role players in the construction of the walkway bridge that was built to link Sandton and Alexandra.

Other interested parties involved in the project were the City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Development Agency, who were clients that appointed Royal HaskoningDHV as an agent. Murray & Roberts is the principal contractor and the supplier of material. 

Read: Role of missing bolts in M1 bridge collapse questioned

The companies, together with workers and unions, are lined-up to testify before the inquiry.

To date four witnesses representing Murray & Roberts have testified. More testimony is still expected from Murray & Roberts, Form-Scaff, Royal HaskoningDHV, consultants and the JDA.

The inquiry will investigate the responsibility of the client in terms of construction regulations, the responsibility of the principal constructor in terms of the construction regulations and the responsibility of the agent on behalf of the client in terms of the same regulations. The inquiry will also investigate the supplier of materials and design of the bridge.

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