By Jack Whibley, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The engineer from the Rio de Janeiro Regional Council for Engineering and Agronomy (CREA-RJ) who is investigating a bus crash that killed six people and hurt 34 others this week, has blamed the tragedy on poor design of the overpass from which the bus fell. The bus had plunged 40 meters (130 feet) from an overpass above a railway line in Itaguaí, 60km west of the city, on Wednesday night.
Antônio Eulálio, the civil engineer from CREA-RJ, said on Thursday that the overpass has at least one design flaw in that it lacks a side barrier separating the road from the pedestrian walkway. Eulálio told O Globo that “it is a work which is poorly designed, the accident was caused by the lack of a side barrier.”
Earlier in the day, the Municipal Secretary of Transportation and Traffic for Itaguaí, Alex Luceno, said that resurfacing works on the overpass will begin within 90 days. Traffic lights will also be installed within 30 days on the viaduct that was built 5 years ago to allow vehicles to cross over a railway line.
These works come too late for local residents who say that the uneven surface on the viaduct is the cause of the accident.
The local newspaper, Extra, has reported that residents had asked the city to put a speed bump at the entrance of the viaduct at least three times. According to them, there is a pronounced gap at the beginning of the viaduct and vehicles approach it too quickly, which leads to problems.
The bus, which is said to have been speeding at the time of the accident, has been fined 24 times since 2008. Its operators, City Traffic Itaguaí, has received nine speeding notices in the same period.
Fatal bus crashes are not uncommon in Rio. A similar incident occurred in April when a bus careered off an overpass near Rio’s Galeão International airport after an argument erupted between the driver and a passenger, killing eight.
In May, Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes had announced a measure aimed at monitoring the conduct of Rio de Janeiro city’s bus drivers. The program was to enforce traffic violations and dismiss drivers who repeatedly ignore the rules of the road.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.