Singapore

Two employees of Jin Quan Engineering arrested for Balestier Road bridge incident

Employees of industrial transport company Jin Quan Engineering (JQE) were arrested for causing damage to an overhead pedestrian bridge along Balestier Road on Friday night (July 21).

The Sunday Times understands that driver Noor Khalam Aman, 57, and his supervisor Ng Boon Tong, 59, both Singaporeans, were arrested for causing a heavy vehicle to collide with the overhead bridge. Mr Khalam's driving license was also suspended and police investigations are ongoing.

On Friday at about 9.30pm, the arm of an excavator being ferried on a JQE trailer hit a pedestrian bridge near McNair Road, damaging it.

The excavator belongs to engineering firm Koh Kock Leong Enterprise (KKL).

No one was injured, but the accident resulted in a massive jam, a nine-hour road closure, and overnight works to remove the bridge that had become structurally unsound.

In a statement yesterday, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the bridge was "likely" to have been damaged by the excavator, which was not fully retracted while being transported.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) also said its engineers found that the impact of the collision caused one end of the bridge beam to be dislodged from the central support, and recommended that the entire bridge be removed immediately.

The crash also caused part of the railings on the pedestrian walkway to be dislodged. Debris was strewn all over the road when ST visited the scene about an hour after the incident.

By about 5.20am on Saturday, the entire overhead bridge was dismantled.

When approached, one of the JQE bosses, who gave her name as Madam Lim, 50, said she did not know what caused the accident and declined to reveal details about the investigation.

KKL's assistant admin manager, Miss Katie Chai, 35, told ST over the phone: "We aren't sure what went wrong and were quite shocked it happened. JQE is one of the companies we contracted to transport our vehicles.

"We don't have an estimation of the damage costs, but we've contacted our insurance brokers and will see how we can sort this out."

It is not clear if the overall height of the trailer and excavator would have been less than 4.5m had the excavator been fully retracted. According to law, it is an offence to drive a heavy vehicle with an overall height that exceeds 4.5m without a police escort.

Unless specifically stated, all overhead road structures, such as pedestrian overhead bridges and gantry signs, have a clearance height of 4.5m.

ST understands that JQE did not hire a police escort.

Since 2013, there have been 20 cases of overheight vehicles hitting overhead structures, LTA said last year.

Friday's incident is the first reported case since 2010 when LTA had to remove horizontal beams of a pedestrian bridge due to damage from a vehicle.

accidentarrestBalestier