On Wednesday, December 9, 2015, a slab of concrete fell from a pedestrian bridge outside Orchard Plaza. Luckily, two women escaped getting injured by the slab.
The women had walked under the bridge connecting Cuppage Plaza and Orchard Plaza few minutes before the concrete fell.
A witness, who wanted to be identified as Mr. David, 48 years old, narrated that he had gone out of a pub in Cuppage Plaza for a smoke when he heard a loud thud across the road, about three minutes after the two women had walked past. The incident happened at 3:20 am and no case of injuries was reported.
Mr. David that informed the reporters said that the women were very lucky because they could have lost their lives.
By 11 am on Wednesday, the police had cordoned off the area surrounding the slabs of concrete and twisted metal pieces. The collapsed debris was later covered with canvas sheets.
The area is known as a smokers’ spot and a spot for shop assistants at Orchard Plaza to chat.
At any given time, there would be at least seven to eight people assembled there, Mr Ching Soon Huat, 54, a shop assistant at Orchard Plaza stated.
Mr. Ching speaking in Mandarin expressed his shock as he used to smoke there every day and the incident scared him. “I’ve seen cracks and water leaking from the bridge before, but I never expected this to happen.”
Mr. Ching and Mr. Dinesh Nandwani, 43 years old, another shop owner stated that they had seen people working on the bridge but they were not aware of what they were doing.
A spokesperson for the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) stated that the issue was about the fallen cladding of about 3m by 1.8m measurement at the pedestrian overhead bridge to Orchard Plaza. Cladding is the process of putting one material over another to create a layer that is aimed at controlling the access of weather elements or for aesthetic reasons.
It has, however, been confirmed by BCA engineers that despite the damage, the pedestrian overhead bridge is structurally okay for public use.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) was directed to barricade the area directly below the pedestrian overhead bridge immediately.
The spokesperson stated that an engineer will investigate and make necessary rectification recommendation measures and keep up with the repairs.
An LTA spokesperson emphasized that LTA would remove the cladding that is left and work would be completed within two days for public safety.
Mr. Dinesh said that the shop was more or less their second home, in that, they spend over 12 hours there every day. He further stated that it was good that the occurrence happened early and that nobody was injured.