One dead in S’pore highway structure collapse

SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has temporarily stopped work at all its road and rail construction sites as a precautionary measure, after a new viaduct that was being built collapsed, killing one worker and injuring 10.

The structure near the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) exit to Tampines Expressway gave way at around 3.30am yesterday, LTA said.

Preliminary investigations showed that corbels, which had been put up to support the weight of pre-cast beams between two piers, had collapsed.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said one worker – a 31-year-old Chinese national – was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, while 10 others were taken to Changi General Hospital.

In a media statement, LTA said Or Kim Peow (OKP) Contractors was carrying out works to cast decking for the new viaduct when a section of the structure between two piers collapsed.

OKP has been taken to task for safety lapses in the past. On Tuesday, it was penalised over another incident in 2015, in which a worker had also died. Before that, it was blacklisted between January and April this year.

Among the workers injured in yesterday’s accident were six Bangladeshi, one Indian and three Chinese nationals, said LTA. Eight were admitted to hospital and two were discharged.

Following the accident, LTA said it was checking all its other work sites and had stopped work on them to observe a “safety timeout”.

The Building and Construction Authority said it had revoked the permit for construction work at the PIE work site and would probe the cause of the incident.

A worker, who declined to be identified, said they had been pouring concrete at the structure when it gave way.

Among the injured was a man who broke his leg and another whose torso was punctured, he added.

The Board of Directors of OKP Holdings Limited issued a statement yesterday: “The Board is deeply saddened by this unfortunate incident and wishes to express the Company’s heartfelt sympathies to the families of the deceased and others injured in the incident.”

The collapsed structure is part of a highway that is under construction, said SCDF.

About 60 SCDF officers, including those from SCDF’s Disaster Assis­tance and Rescue Team, were involved in the search and rescue operation, as well K9 search dogs.

SCDF said the slip road from Upper Changi Road East into PIE was closed and asked motorists to avoid the area.

Recovery works for the affected slip road were estimated to take two days before it could be re-opened for traffic, said LTA. — The Straits Times/Asia News Net­work

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