Works Ministry: Detailed report on fatal bridge collapse ready in two weeks

MEOR RIDUWAN MEOR AHMAD

KUALA LUMPUR: A detailed technical report on the bridge collapse at Serdang, Kulim Bandar Baharu, Kedah which claimed two lives on Monday, will be finalised in two weeks before it is presented to the Works Ministry.

Works Minister, Baru Bian, said the Public Works Department’s (PWD) Bridge Design and Forensic Engineering Division is currently conducting extensive investigations at the scene to identify the cause of the incident.

He said the bridge was neither built by PWD nor under its supervision but was under the jurisdiction of the Kulim Bandar Baharu District Council, Kedah.

“However, as part of the department’s social responsibility, the Bridge Design and Forensic Engineering Division has been deployed to investigate the matter.

“Preliminary investigations suggest that the collapse was caused by landslips near the bridge’s abutment, which led to it shifting and causing the incident.

“This also led to a main pipe along the bridge to burst. Repair works were done immediately by Syarikat Air Darul Aman. Surface stabilisation works were also done by the Kulim Bandar Baharu Municipal Council,” he said in a statement.

In the 10pm incident, Muhammad Haikal Hakimi Mohd Noor and Mohamad Haziq Ishak, both 17, died when the motorcycle they were on fell after the bridge collapsed. They were subsequently buried by the debris.

Their bodies were found at a depth of 0.3 metres.

Baru said, the Kulim PWD also assisted in implementing Traffic Management Plan works as well as setting up temporary diversions to manage traffic.

“The investigation team has recommended that a new bridge be built, taking into account the flow of the river, slope erosion, water level and other technical aspects,” he said.

He said the ministry would not hesitate to take action if they find any elements of negligence involved.

“All PWD projects are required to follow set specifications and standard operating procedures, on top of prioritising safety.

“The ministry, via the Malaysian Engineering Board, will gather information from the local authority on the engineer responsible for the bridge, as well as details of the contractor and officer in charge,” said the minister, who also extended his condolences to the families of the two teenagers. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd