AddisFortune: Around 90 metres of bridge being constructed by Midroc over Omo River collapses
A 90-metre portion of the Omo River Bridge, which is under construction in Omorate Zone, Southern Regional State, collapsed onsite.
The accident occurred at around 5:15pm on April 19, 2011, when one side of the bridge, located 850km from Addis Abeba, gave in without warning.
The iron bars supporting the construction appeared unable to support the weight of the bridge, resulting in the collapse, eyewitnesses told Fortune.
The construction of the 128-metre Omo River Bridge was awarded to Midroc Construction in 2005, and was originally planned to be completed in 2010.
The accident might have resulted from the use of 20-year old iron bars in the construction of the bridge, according to Habtamu Adnew, spokesperson for Omorate Wereda Administration.
The bridge is an integral part of the region’s development as it would link Nyangatom and Dassenech weredas once completed, Habtamu claimed. It is also central to the Mombassa-Nairobi-Addis Abeba corridor which, in turn, is an important part of the Trans-African Highway from Cairo in Egypt to Cape Town in South Africa, the spokesperson pointed out.
“The bridge is crucial as it would be an important transport link for the Gibe III and Gibe IV dams as well as a corridor for a planned dry port station in the area that would serve imports coming from the Mombassa Port and Northern Kenya,” Habtamu told Fortune.
A taskforce comprising lecturers from Addis Abeba University (AAU), engineers from the federal government, officials of the ERA, and Midroc are investigating the accident, claimed Samson Wondimu, head of public relations at the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA).
He refrained from speculating on the circumstances surrounding the collapse.
“It is too soon to speculate on why the bridge collapsed,” Samson told Fortune.