A major accident was averted as the scaffolding to build a 15-feet-long pier arm on one of the pillars on the busy 100 feet road at Vadapalani collapsed when liquid concrete was being poured into it on Thursday afternoon. No one was injured. There were no vehicles on the stretch.

The Chennai Metro Rail limited has ordered a detailed probe. The accident occurred at 2.45 p.m on the Rs 2,500 crore-Koyambedu-St Thomas Mount metro rail project site. Residents claim many motorists would have been injured if the accident had occurred during peak hours. By 3.15 p.m., the accident site was teeming with policemen, Metro Rail officials and onlookers.

“An autorickshaw driver was heading towards Vadapalani signal at the time of the accident. When he saw the arm collapsing, he turned his vehicle around and stopped,” said Mohamed Ismail, a shop owner in Mosque Street, some 20 feet away from the site. The scaffolding fell from a height of 18 metres. “I head a loud sound and thought the pillar had collapsed. I was initially worried someone would be injured. But there was no one on the road except for the autorickshaw,” said Mr. Mohamed.

Metro Rail officials said the welding was weak and unable to withstand the load. “It could have been a major accident had we not temporarily built enclosures on a section of the road from Koyambedu to Vadapalani. The scaffolding fell within the cordoned off area,” said a Metro Rail official.

Residents complain that the work is being carelessly done. “Though the filling of concrete is a temporary work, utmost care should have been taken. We will now study how it happened, how it can be rectified. We have asked for a detailed report from the consultants,” said the official.

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