Bridges across Europe are in a dangerous state, warn experts
By Kim Willsher, Lorenzo Tondo, and Jon Henley
Fears have risen about the condition of infrastructure across Europe after the deadly collapse of a stretch of a motorway bridge in Genoa, with experts warning that some road bridges are in a dangerous state.
In France, the transport minister warned that the country’s road network was in a “critical state” after a recent study carried out by the French government found a third of its road bridges required repairs and that 841 posed a potential risk.
The summary of the general audit on the state of France’s road network was published in July without fanfare, but does not make reassuring reading for motorists.
Its authors reported a “marked deterioration” of roads in general, and bridges and viaducts in particular.
“Of the 12,000 bridges in the network, a third need repairs … often small repairs in order to prevent the appearance of structural deterioration,” it said.
In Italy, as many as 300 bridges are at risk of failure, including a bridge near Agrigento, Sicily, designed by Ricardo Morandi, the same engineer behind the Genovese bridge. The Sicilian authorities closed the structure because of structural damage in its pillars.
In Germany a report last year by the Federal Highway Research Institute found that while only 12.4% of the country’s road bridges were in bad condition, just 12.5% were considered good. Many of the bridges were built in the 1960s and 70s and were not designed for the heavy freight traffic of today.
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