Con­cerns raised over sta­bil­ity of high­way bill­board

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KHAYA KOKO khaya.koko@inl.co.za

A CRUM­BLING bill­board struc­ture is a po­ten­tially haz­ardous risk to pedes­tri­ans and mo­torists us­ing the R24 Al­bertina Sisulu high­way in Ekurhu­leni, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity con­firmed yes­ter­day.

This re­lates to a crum­bling con­crete pil­lar on the struc­ture, where ex­posed steel is clearly vis­i­ble due to the dis­in­te­grat­ing con­crete on the pil­lar. The po­ten­tial hazard is caused by the struc­ture be­ing along the busy high­way, which is about two min­utes from OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port, a busy pedes­trian cross­ing next to the bill­board and a busy road – Andre Greyven­stein Av­enue – on the other side of the high­way.

Ward coun­cil­lor in the area Si­mon Lap­ping, who raised alarm bells about the splin­tered bill­board, told The Star he saw the struc­ture be­ing built re­cently. “This bill­board was erected about a month ago. I ac­tu­ally watched them in­stalling the pil­lar hold­ing up the bill­board. It begs the ques­tion of how a build­ing in­spec­tor al­lowed this to hap­pen,” Lap­ping said.

Themba Gadebe, spokesper­son for the City of Ekurhu­leni, said the bill­board was ap­proved by the city and the struc­ture was in­spected re­cently.

“The find­ings are in­deed that the struc­ture shows signs of be­ing un­safe and the ap­pli­cant de­vi­ated from the ap­proved plan. A con­tra­ven­tion no­tice will be is­sued to the owner of the struc­ture to fix or dis­man­tle it, fail­ing which the city will in­sti­tute le­gal ac­tion against the owner.”

How­ever, Thu­lani Nkuna – the head of Rivoni Ad­ver­tis­ing, the me­dia owner re­spon­si­ble for the struc­ture – main­tained that the struc­ture was “sound” and did “not pose any hazard to any­one” as two “rep­utable firms” were re­spon­si­ble for the con­struc­tion.

The firms in ques­tion are Mogul Engi­neer­ing (un­der the re­spon­si­bil­ity of Terence van Niek­erk), which was un­der the su­per­vi­sion of C&S Projects, un­der the re­spon­si­bil­ity of Adri­aan Naudé.

“Some­time after the work was com­pleted and signed off by the con­sult­ing en­gi­neers, it was no­ticed that some of the con­crete work on the col­umn was not of re­quired spec­i­fi­ca­tion. Re­me­dial ac­tion was im­me­di­ately or­dered,” Nkuna ex­plained.

“The con­crete was re­moved in or­der to be poured back with the re­quired spec­i­fi­ca­tions. The struc­ture is sound and does not pose any hazard to any­one.”

This was cor­rob­o­rated by Van Niek­erk, who said: “The struc­ture is sup­ported by two col­umns of which the main steel col­umn car­ries most of the load. We are also in the process of in­stalling tem­po­rary steel col­umns on the con­crete col­umn side to pro­vide ad­di­tional sup­port while we are work­ing on the struc­ture.”

He did not spec­ify how long this would take, only say­ing it would be reme­died “in due course”.

Gadebe said the city had not been in­formed of this prior to The Star’s en­quiry.

PIC­TURE: NH­LANHLA PHILLIPS

EX­POSED: A crum­bling con­crete pil­lar sup­ports a bill­board on the R24 high­way near OR Tambo Air­port.

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