Engineer behind viaduct collapse in Singapore jailed and fined

  • ASEAN+
  • Monday, 02 Dec 2019

Or Kim Peow Contractors and its group managing director Or Toh Wat (above) were allegedly aware of cracks in the corbels of piers 40 and 41 of the Pan-Island Expressway viaduct that collapsed in July 2017.- ST

SINGAPORE (ANN): The engineer who prepared building work plans for the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) viaduct that collapsed in July 2017 was on Monday (Dec 2) sentenced to 86 weeks' jail, or slightly over one year and nine months, as well as a fine of S$10,000.

Indonesian Robert Arianto Tjandra, 46, the qualified person from subcontractor CPG Consultants, knew his team of engineers was inexperienced in designing bridges, but failed to give them guidance or instructions.

He also failed to check the design assumptions made for the corbels, which are support structures, between affected vertical columns that collapsed. The viaduct rests on these vertical columns which are called piers.

Even after he was aware of the errors in the calculations made by the engineering team, he failed to take necessary remedial steps.

It was this reckless act that resulted in the collapse of the PIE viaduct, which killed Chinese worker Chen Yinchuan, 31, and injured 10 others.

The 11 workers, who were working on the affected deck slab, fell to the ground from a height of at least 9m.

Arianto Tjandra, a Singapore permanent resident, had faced five charges under the Building Control Act and the Workplace Safety and Health Act - the highest among those who were charged.

On Nov 20, he pleaded guilty to three of the five charges, with the remaining two charges taken into consideration for sentencing.

The court heard that Arianto Tjandra led a team of five design engineers who had no or limited experience with bridge design involving the design of the corbels used in the PIE viaduct.

None of the five design engineers knew how to do the calculations, nor did they make the correct calculations, said the prosecution.

Five individuals and the main contractor, Or Kim Peow Contractors (OKP), were charged in court in May last year for their roles in the incident.

OKP has since been fined S$10,000 for carrying out unauthorised strengthening works on the support structures of the viaduct. It still faces a remaining charge for causing the death of Chen and the injuries of the 10 workers, which it is contesting in a trial.

Engineer Leong Sow Hon, 61, who was appointed by the Land Transport Authority as an accredited checker, was jailed six months in July for failing to go through the detailed plans and design calculations for permanent corbels.

The construction firm's group managing director Or Toh Wat was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal in July this year for all his three charges in relation to the collapse.

The cases of two other individuals allegedly linked to the incident are still pending. They are OKP project engineer Wong Kiew Hai, 31, and OKP project director Yee Chee Keong, 49. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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