Hussein Hazzazi and Sa’eed Al-Neghais
JEDDAH – The scheduled opening of a flyover in one of the main thoroughfares in Jeddah has been delayed by at least one month after a section of the under-construction bridge caved in. The bridge was set for inauguration early next month.
The scaffolding bearing section No. 19 of the bridge at the intersection of Prince Majed Bin Abdul Aziz Road with Prince Muhammad Bin Abdul Aziz (Tahliah) Road collapsed on Friday, causing one of the precast beams to fall down before it was fitted into the main structure of the bridge, officials said. There were no deaths or injuries from the accident.
Dr. Hani Abu Ras, Mayor of Jeddah, has formed a technical committee to investigate the accident and come up with recommendations to deal with its effects on the bridge.
The committee, to be chaired by Ibrahim Kutubkhana, Deputy Mayor for Construction and Projects, comprises a number of engineers from the mayoralty and the company carrying out the project.
Mayor Abu Ras and members of the investigation committee inspected the project site after the accident. The mayoralty has asked the project’s contractor to immediately begin making another precast beam to replace the collapsed section. This measure is meant to avoid further delays in the opening of the bridge as the investigation committee continued its work.
Kutubkhana said the bridge is made up of 20 precast sections, which are connected and fastened with one another. “The scaffolding bearing section No. 19 collapsed bringing down the beam before it could be fastened to section No. 18, which had already been riveted to section No. 17,” he said.
Each section of the bridge weighed about 88 tons and is 30 meters wide.
Kutubkhana said the inauguration of the bridge, scheduled for mid-Shawwal, will be delayed because preparing a new beam to replace the collapsed section will take at least 30 days.
During the inspection tour, Abu Ras told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that the investigation committee has already started its work and will present its report within a few days.
Abu Ras said the main structure of the bridge was not affected by the beam collapse. He said the contracting company was using precast sections to speed up the bridge project.