An image from the Monday night pedestrian bridge collapse on Highway 4, between Givat Shmuel and Bnei Brak..
(photo credit: COURTESY ISRAEL POLICE)
An illegally raised crane on the truck that struck a pedestrian bridge on Route 4 between Givat Shmuel and Bnei Brak Monday evening caused the bridge’s collapse and driver’s death, police said on Tuesday.
The unidentified male driver was trapped when the metal and concrete bridge fell on the cab of the vehicle near the Ramat Elchanan neighborhood of Bnei Brak. Despite attempts by United Hatzalah first-responders and fire and rescue workers to extricate him, he died at the scene.
No one was walking on the bridge when it was struck, and no other injuries were reported.
According to police, an investigation has determined that the truck was likely speeding at the time when it hit the bridge.
“There are strong suspicions that he was driving over the speed limit while the crane was raised, which caused the bridge to collapse so quickly,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
The truck and resulting debris caused several hours of delays on the highway, forcing thousands of vehicles to wait until the site was cleared or use alternative routes opened by police.
Following the incident, Shmuel Abuhav, a former CEO of Or Yarok, an association that promotes safer driving in Israel, proposed erecting hanging iron bars ahead of bridges to prevent future disasters.
The proposal to place an iron bar across the road at the height of the bridge dozens of meters before the crossing was first made after similar accidents occurred but it was only partially implemented, he said, noting that such bars have successfully stopped vehicles from reaching bridges in the past.
“In previous cases in which such accidents occurred, one of the conclusions was that the iron placed in the foreground of the bridge served as a blocking device that prevents an accident at the bridge itself,” he said. “After an accident in Neveh Sha’anan, they did it, but we have to do it in more places.”
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