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Call for evidence as Superway inquiry begins

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A parliamentary committee has called for written evidence from construction workers who claim “shortcuts” were taken during the construction of the $842 million South Road Superway.

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An InDaily investigation last year uncovered allegations by several steel fixers and other workers on the site that hundreds of shear ties, designed to prevent the construction from collapsing during an earthquake, were not installed intact.

The workers also claimed that they had to heat steel reinforcement used in the structure- to date the most expensive road infrastructure in South Australia’s history – above temperatures that may have fundamentally compromised the integrity of the metal, among other allegations of “shortcuts” and safety risks on the build.

InDaily understands the Public Works Committee of state parliament met in a closed session last week and resolved to call for written evidence from the workers detailing the specifics of their allegations.

The committee, which contains three Government MPs including presiding member Annabel Digance, and two Opposition MPs, declined to call witnesses from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure to give evidence in person, after receiving a written response from the department.

Liberal MP Tim Whetstone said he argued during the meeting that witnesses from the department should be called respond to the allegations in person, but he and Liberal MP Michael Pengilly were outvoted.

The committee resolved, however, to call for written evidence from the steel fixers.

Whetstone told InDaily the steel fixers would likely be called to give evidence in person if their written evidence was forthcoming.

The State Government told InDaily last year that the elevated roadway had been “built to the highest construction standards and it is structurally sound and 100 per cent safe for people to drive on”.

The committee is scheduled to meet next week.

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