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Motorists travelling on the M4 over the Ellis Brown Viaduct at Blue Lagoon had no need to fear for their safety despite the collapse of the pedestrian walkway linked to the bridge at the weekend.
The eThekwini municipality’s engineering head, Adrian Peters, said the bridge over the uMngeni River – one of the city’s busiest routes – was completely stable, and that the collapse of the pedestrian walkway was the result of theft.
Its collapse had in no way compromised the safety of the main bridge, he said.
“While we have not yet completed the investigation, it is apparent the steel couplings were tampered with – possibly with a theft motive,” he said.
It could take up to a year before the pedestrian walkway was back in operation, he added.
There were a number of issues that had to be taken care of before the walkway could be repaired. This included an environmental impact assessment. There were no other bridges in Durban with this type of construction and he did not believe other bridges were at risk.
“We are looking at how to fix this particular problem without exposure to a similar risk,” said Peters.
The couplings were “huge structural elements” and would be replaced with stainless steel.
Peters said there were no cameras on the walkway or the bridge, but they would have been useless as the vandalism was from the bottom of the deck, out of sight.