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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

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

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
Pandy 9:51 pm 14 Aug 10

Just because the big smoke of Melbourne had the Westgaste Bridge collapse, Canberra has to have its own? Damn you Stanhope!

(good that no-one was killed but)

kiwiengineer 9:27 pm 14 Aug 10

Tooheyspils… interested to hear how you went on site.

Holden Caulfield 9:27 pm 14 Aug 10

Blimey! Thankfully noone was seriously hurt.

LarryBlaze 9:06 pm 14 Aug 10

Hectic. Would totally suck to be the chief engineer on that job right now.

Lucky no one was killed.

Ello Vera 9:00 pm 14 Aug 10

Thanks tooheyspils (I preferred the old silver bullets). Look forward to reading your observations.

Enzyme 8:55 pm 14 Aug 10

And here is a link to some more photos taken from a different view point:

Pork Hunt 8:47 pm 14 Aug 10

cranky said :

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.

What the f%&k does this have to do with ACT Gov OH&S inspectors?

They are not nursemaids who look over your shoulder when you’re building shit!

Why would they be looking at the contractors “paperwork”???

Engineers plan shit, scaffolders/formworkers erect shit and sadly, shit has happened.

Sweet FA to do with workcover and safe work method statements when they’re pouring concrete and it goes pear shaped!

Arthur McKenzie 8:47 pm 14 Aug 10

Whatever the cause, and hopefully there are no serious injuries, this is just another successful entry in the Katie Bender Safety Construction Awards 2010. The whole industry here is a shameful example of how engineering is NOT done. The whole GDE is a death trap over its whole length.

As a professional engineer I am ashamed of my ACT colleagues. This is not a one-off incident. It is BAD engineering NOT bad luck!

[I say hopefully, because if there are no injuries it is due to luck and not good management.]

Growling Ferret 8:32 pm 14 Aug 10

When is the next ACT election? The next 6 months of traffic chaos getting out of Gungahlin might be enough to change a Government if enough residents are pissed off with the ACT ALP

Enzyme 8:30 pm 14 Aug 10

I’ve put up a few photos I took of it here. These have a better view than ones taken from the road.:

dannybear 8:23 pm 14 Aug 10

whats up with that police ute…..looks pretty useful in the event of arresting someone

Mr Evil 8:17 pm 14 Aug 10

harley said :

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.

Unless an arm or leg pops out the side of the still drying slab. 🙂

lizw 8:13 pm 14 Aug 10

When I went through the Barton Highway roundabout at 2:45, there were police directing traffic, and the Barton Highway east exit was closed. There was very heavy traffic, but the police kept it flowing as well as possible.

arescarti42 8:01 pm 14 Aug 10

I guess it was lucky that it collapsed on a Saturday at 2pm on a Saturday. It could have been much much uglier if it was weekday peak hour.

ace666 7:56 pm 14 Aug 10

These events imho are becoming more common. No contractor who can afford a lawer is concerned what workcover or the courts think. On the smaller sites things probably have improved regarding oh&s.
Experienced tradesmen and labourers, who are not afaid to speak up, imo would prevent these type of incidents.
Geting dragged before the constuction industry task force for having an opinion, would over time force you to turn the other cheeck, and keep your opinions to yourself if you wanted to still work in the industry.
The results speak for themselves!

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