Nine construction workers have been injured following the collapse of an under-construction bridge in Canberra, Australia.

The bridge, which is part of the Gungahlin Drive Extension (GDE), collapsed at about 2.00 pm on 14 August during a concrete pour on the east-west section.

According to local media reports, eyewitnesses said they heard a "cracking sound" and then the bridge "buckled beneath them seconds later", taking construction workers standing on the upper section with it.

Some workers scrambled to safety in time but, one was left suspended in mid-air after he grabbed hold of a cement truck hose, said a report in The Canberra Times.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) Australian Capital Territory (ACT) branch secretary Dean Hall told the newspaper, ''They heard a crack, there was a three-second delay and then it gave way.''

One worker with lower leg injuries was trapped for about 15 minutes before being rescued, while most of the other injured workers were able to walk to waiting ambulance crews for treatment.

The Barton Highway and northern GDE were closed for several hours as investigations commenced.

Project background

This Gungahlin Drive and the Majura Parkway (between the Monaro Highway and Federal Highway), are the two transport routes that are planned to respond to the changing needs of Canberra's north - the current major growth region.

This route has been acknowledged to be a crucial link in Canberra's transport network for the short and longer terms for residents of northern Canberra and benefiting the entire city.

The need for the Gungahlin Drive is very much linked with the continued development of the Canberra's northern suburbs, which now have a population of some 40000 and will ultimately have a population in excess of 80000 over the next twenty years.

The Gungahlin Drive Extension (GDE) completes the western peripheral parkway system that has been identified as part of the major road network on Canberra plans for many years.

The GDE is an arterial road upgrade, connecting the northern section of Canberra to the Tuggeranong Parkway in Canberra Central, a distance of 9 kilometres.

The GDE is located between Barton Highway and Glenloch Interchange passing through the suburbs of Kaleen, Bruce, and Aranda. Stage 1 of the GDE was completed in December 2008. GDE Stage 2 is the duplication of Stage 1 and has been separated into two areas, Northern Roads and Bridges and Southern Roads and Bridges.

On 23 July 2008 the ACT Government announced that it would allocate AU$ 85.5 million ($25.5 (2009-10), AU$ 30 million (2010-11), AU$ 30 million (2011-12)) over the next four years to fund the duplication of the GDE.

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