UPDATE: N3 bridge collapse – the highway is open

According to Wayne Minnaar of JMPD clean-up operations during the night ensured that this busy highway is open in both directions.

The bridge fell onto the highway, blocking the highway in both directions, between the Van Buuren off-ramp and Geldenhuys interchange.

William Ntladi, spokesman for Ekurhuleni Emergency Services, said five vehicles were damaged; two trucks and a sedan travelling north, as well as two trucks travelling south.

He said emergency services battled for two hours to free a woman in one of the trucks. She was airlifted to hospital.

According to Nick Dollman, media liaison Inland of Netcare, at approximately 2am on Wednesday, August 9, Netcare 911 responded to reports that a bridge had collapsed across both sides of the N3 in the Bedfordview area.

“Paramedics from Netcare 911, as well as other ambulance services, the Fire Department and police all responded to the incident,” said Dollman.

“Reports from the scene indicate that the bridge had collapsed and several vehicles, on either side of the highway, then crashed into it.

“Three trucks and a car had sustained severe damage. Another truck was allegedly passing under the bridge as it collapsed and was very fortunate to escape with limited damage. A second car also sustained less serious damage.

“Paramedics attended to the occupants of the vehicles, four adults and a child were treated at the scene before being transported to hospital.

“A woman was trapped in one of the trucks and was attended to by Advanced Life Support paramedics. She was heavily entrapped in the wreck of the truck and fire fighters were called upon to use the “Jaws of Life” to access her and then free her from the mangled cab.

“She was then airlifted to hospital for the urgent medical care that she required.

“The other three adults and child were in a stable condition.”

According to the SA National Road Agency (SANRAL) the bridge was built in 1978 and has been closed to the public for a number of years.

The complete demolition of the bridge is underway as SANRAL has managed to get demolition experts on site to dismantle the remainder of the bridge.

Ismail Vadi, MEC for transport in Gauteng, said the cause of the collapse was still unknown.

Earlier , Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi, said that the freeway between the Geldenhuys interchange and Van Buuren Road near Germiston could be closed in both directions for the next 24 to 48 hours due to the collapsed bridge.

 

 

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Riaan Engelbrecht
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