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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Another Calamity, Another Whitewash, so What's New in Malaysia?

The latest disclosure on the reason for the collapse of the beams tells little on what really happened.

Perhaps the real reason is so unbelievable that it is better to gloss over the incident and hope the public will soon forget. After all, no one got killed and so why should I be getting so uptight?

Only the "MHA and several other agencies" are named in the NST story so one can only guess the depth of the inquiry that came up with so few details.

The story mentions that
"The contractor had detected a fault when laying the 40-tonne beams, one of which failed to settle onto a rubber cushion, in the incident at 11.40pm.

“As the contractor was attempting to rectify the fault, the eighth beam being laid slipped and fell, dragging down the remaining beams,” he said at the launch of the road safety campaign, in conjunction with the Hari Raya holidays, at the Sungai Buloh overhead rest area along the North-South Expressway (NSE)."

An earlier story mentioned that the eight beams were tied together by wire and the falling of one beam caused the other seven to follow in the "Domino effect".

If you take a good look at the photo, you will see the beams are properly installed in the top right corner; with the height standing tall.
Now if you look at the collapsed beams, they are all neatly lying on the ground; all 90 degrees turned with respect to the properly installed beams.

These eight collapsed beams probably formed the other side of the dual carriageway and maybe were being installed by a different set of crane operators and supervisors and they laid the first seven beams wrongly; ie on its side instead of vertical and this means the strength of the beam becomes many times weaker than when placed vertically as those properly installed in the photo.

So when the time came for the eight beam to be placed, there was not enough room on the rubber cushion for it.

No details are given on what they actually did to rectify the problem but I wonder when the beams were tied together. Maybe the crane operator was trying to lift all eight beams at one go? That's a scary thought but why else would the eight beams be tied together?

Just like the Nuri helicopter probe, this internal inquiry produces more questions that answers.

Maybe they should divert traffic in future projects so that this type of incident is not repeated.
And today's letter in the Press shows how mindful some companies are of public safety.

Photo: Thanks to New Straits Times

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