GEORGE TOWN: The collapse of a section of the ramp connecting the second Penang bridge to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway could have been caused by inadequate scaffolding, according to an expert.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) School of Housing Building and Planning professor of engineering construction Dr Mahyuddin Ramli said that when designing scaffolding, contractors should adhere to international codes of practice.
“The scaffolding must be able to withstand the superstructure and horizontal loads as well as the additional hydraulic pressure of fresh cement,” he said yesterday.
He said concrete in its fluid form would add load on the scaffolding.
“It takes five hours for the concrete to harden before it can carry its own weight.
“Before that, it relies on the scaffolding to hold it in place,” he said, cautioning contractors to never underestimate the importance of scaffolding.
“Strength and stability are very important,” he said.
Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohd Idris, in concurring, said a full and complete inquiry was needed to determine whether the scaffolding was done properly.
“No stone must be left unturned,’’ he said, urging the relevant parties to conduct an inspection of the entire bridge to reassure the public of its safety
Society of Logisticians Malaysia (LogM) president Chang Kah Loon called for an independent task force to investigate the cause and also to ensure the bridge’s safety.
“Besides the bridge concessionaire’s own investigations on the cause of the collapse, we need an independent task force comprising experts to come up with its own findings.
“This will ensure reliability and safety so that motorists will not shy away from using the second Penang Bridge when it opens.
“Failing to do so could cause the bridge to be under-utilised,” he said.
He said the second Penang Bridge was important to the logistics sector as it would give companies in Kedah, Perlis, Perak and Butterworth using air freight a faster route to Penang International Airport.