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GDE collapses onto Barton Highway

By johnboy - 17 August 2010 128

[First filed: Aug 14, 2010 @ 15:54]

Bridge collapse

The Canberra Times brings word of a new and sorry twist in the tail of the Gungahlin Drive Extension with a major collapse of the new work over the Barton Highway:

Firefighters have freed a man trapped under a section of the Gungahlin Drive extension that collapsed this afternoon. Stage two of the extension has collapsed onto the Barton Highway while construction work was underway around 2pm.

Everyone on site at the time of collapse has been accounted for. The Emergency Services Agency said paramedics treated 15 people at the scene, and 10 would be taken to hospital in stable conditions.

More as it comes in. If you have pictures please send them in to images@the-riotact.com

UPDATE: The ESA has this to say:

3:10pm Saturday 14 August 2010 – Update two – no serious injuries 15 people being assessed on scene by intensive care paramedics with up to 10 to be transported to hospital in a stable condition.

No critical injuries at this time.

2:35pm 14 August 2010 – Update person freed One person confirmed trapped on scene has been freed by firefighters.

2:15pm Saturday 14 August 2010 – Report of construction collapse ACT Ambulance Service and ACT Fire Brigade responding to reports of a construction collapse on the Barton Highway Gungahlin.

Update to follow

FURTHER UPDATE: This grim warning on the traffic implications from the ESA:

4:10pm Saturday 14 August 2010 – Final update on partial bridge collapse ACT Ambulance Service has transported a nine patients to the Canberra Hospital in a stable condition with minor injuries following a partial bridge collapse on the Barton Highway Gungahlin.

The section of bridge that collapsed was under construction adjacent to an existing bridge.

The injuries range from limb to suspected spinal.

A total of 15 patients have been assessed on scene by intensive care paramedics.

One man was trapped for around 15 minutes until he was rescued by firefighters.

The ESA was alerted to the incident just before 2 o’clock.

The road is expected to remain closed for quite some time.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The ABC has word from roads supremo Tony Gill:

“Our initial advice is that it could take up to two weeks before we are in a position to remove the debris and get the road open for public use,” he said.

“We are getting an independent engineer’s report just to get an understanding of how the bridge collapsed and secondly we need to engage a demolition contractor to remove the debris.

“But we also have to make sure it is safe for that demolition contractor to go in and remove the debris.”

ONE MORE UPDATE FOR THE ROAD: The TAMS websites has this morning (16 August) put up a statement dated 14 August on the road closures (file data says it was created this morning):

The ACT Government wishes to advise motorists and other road users that Barton
Highway, at its intersection with Gungahlin Drive, is closed (in both directions) until further
notice.

Barton Highway (Northbound): All northbound traffic will be detoured via Gungahlin Drive, Ginninderra Drive, Baldwin Drive and William Slim Drive to reconnect with Barton Highway.

Barton Highway (Southbound): All southbound traffic will be detoured via Gungahlin Drive, Sandford Street roundabout, and Gungahlin Drive to reconnect with Barton Highway.

Gungahlin Drive (Southbound off-ramp): Right turn onto Barton Highway will be closed.

Traffic will be able to turn left from Gungahlin Drive onto Barton Highway towards the city,
however people are encouraged to detour via Mitchell.

Detour signage has been erected to alert people of the closure and to direct traffic.

The ACT Government apologises for any inconvenience caused.

For up-to-date information on road closures please call Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.

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128 Responses to
GDE collapses onto Barton Highway
Deano 7:56 pm 14 Aug 10

ace666 said :

How many major collapses in Canberra prior 1996?

Siverton Centre.

gooterz 7:26 pm 14 Aug 10

In the US and other places they make the bridge offsite and then place it over the span. Miminal distruption and it takes a few hours to install (not including the supports!)

harley 7:03 pm 14 Aug 10

Mr Evil said :

Yeah, of course that’s it. There were no shonky building practices when unions ruled the roost, no sireee!

whacked union rivals actually strengthen concrete. Proven fact.

DJ 6:54 pm 14 Aug 10

Yeah, the Unions would never have let this happen – they were as honest as the day is long…

tooheyspils 6:50 pm 14 Aug 10

I worked on this bridge. Unions have nothing to do with it. We are regulated by engineers and so called experts. When will common sense be allowed to prevail. I hope all of the guys who are injured are ok. I find it hard to believe the existing carraige way is damaged, however, if it is, that may be the reason for the collapse in the first place. I can’t see if the road under the new bridge is ok or wether it failed. The so called experts said it would be fine to use the road as the base for the new bridge, meaning….”sure, go ahead, stick 1500 tonnes of weight on the road, it’ll be fine”…. makes you wonder eh? Seeing as how we have just had 40 to 50mls of rain,it has to do something to the ground wouldn’t you think? Going for a first hand look tomorrow early, I may keep you posted.

trevar 6:33 pm 14 Aug 10

Traffic chaos for a couple of weeks? This looks like another five years worth of traffic chaos!

dipstick 6:28 pm 14 Aug 10

Lots of cops at the actual site. Wish they would have deployed a few further up the Barton at the big roundabout (William Slim/Gundaroo Rd) to stop the traffic buildup heading into the city.

cranky 6:23 pm 14 Aug 10

A textbook demonstration of how the ACT Gov OH&S inspectors are out of their depth.

Instead of requiring reams of paper known as a safe work statements to cover their arses in cases like these, and fining builders for not including their license no. on their signs, their training obviously misses out on building/engineering practise. They have patently missed the vital flaw in the contractors paperwork.

They should be able to actively oversight the job at hand, because they have been granted all the power under the sun to interfere with the contractor’s operation.

Authority without responsibility. Bit like local Govco as a whole.

jessieduck 6:09 pm 14 Aug 10

Amazing no-one was killed.

kevin22 5:45 pm 14 Aug 10

Hopefully the ACT government didn’t take shortcut and go for the cost saving method that put life at risk.

Dougal 5:41 pm 14 Aug 10

I certainly hope that everyone is ok.

This may be an inflammatory comment, especially as I know almost zero about engineering civil or otherwise, but further to ace666’s comment, yes things may go wrong, but aren’t we advanced enough as a society for these types of accidents to *never* happen?

I would have thought that in a first world country with all of the red tape and standards that have to be met by everyone involved in the process from the glint in an engineer’s eye to the cutting of the ribbon by the Chief (not to mention the sheer amount of time that it takes for a project to be completed) that the standard would be high, and by this I mean safe.

Please don’t throw the recent rain up as an excuse, weather still has an element of unpredictability so it should always be a factor in the risk assessment of a project where people’s lives are at stake.

Mr Evil 5:33 pm 14 Aug 10

Another (possible), “let’s pour concrete without enough support beneath the structure” incident in Canberra? Just remember kids; wet concrete weighs more than dry concrete!

ace666 said :

I carn’t remember so many major building site accidents in the days when unions actually had input into site safety, as opposed to a card people carry that says they are safe. Since the attack began on union activity I can recall a hanger collapse, a couple of largish concrete slabs collapsing, this bridge. How many major collapses in Canberra prior 1996?

Yeah, of course that’s it. There were no shonky building practices when unions ruled the roost, no sireee!

ogloooooos 4:17 pm 14 Aug 10

the existing duplication bridge is also believed to be unstable. I imagine the next couple of weeks traffic will be chaotic!

ace666 4:12 pm 14 Aug 10

I carn’t remember so many major building site accidents in the days when unions actually had input into site safety, as opposed to a card people carry that says they are safe. Since the attack began on union activity I can recall a hanger collapse, a couple of largish concrete slabs collapsing, this bridge. How many major collapses in Canberra prior 1996?

caf 4:08 pm 14 Aug 10

Hope everyone’s OK (I guess this is exactly why they close the road when they’re doing this kind of thing!).

It sounds like the existing carriageway is also unstable as a result of whatever happened – so prepare for traffic chaos on Monday.

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