October 1, 2022

La Ronge Northerner

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Bridge collapse in Norway, two vehicle drivers rescued

Bridge collapse in Norway, two vehicle drivers rescued

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – A wooden bridge over a river in southern Norway collapsed early Monday morning, with a car falling into the water and a truck stuck in a raised section. Police said the drivers of the two cars were rescued and are fine.

Police were alerted shortly after 7:30 a.m. (0530 GMT; 1:30 a.m. EDT) that the bridge had collapsed as a truck and car were crossing over it. The reason was not immediately known.

The car fell into the river while the truck remained on the bridge almost perpendicular to a section that had been raised at a steep angle out of the water.

Police said a helicopter assisted in the rescue and pulled the truck driver away. The driver of the car managed to get out of his car on his own.

The bridge, about 150 meters (500 ft) long, connects the west bank of the Gudbrandsdalslaagen and the village of Tretten. The bridge opened in 2012.

“It’s utterly disastrous, and totally unrealistic,” local mayor John Halvor Medmagili told Dubgladt newspaper. “It’s also a fairly new bridge.”

A wooden bridge over a river in southern Norway has collapsed, with a car falling into the water and a truck stuck in a collapsed section.
Geir Olsen / NTB Scanpix via AP

“I was completely destroyed, and everything fell,” he added.

The Norwegian Automobile Federation said the bridge was examined in 2021, raising concerns about the safety of these bridges.

“We who travel on roads must be able to trust that bridges are safe to drive on,” the organization’s spokeswoman, Engen Handgaard, told the Norwegian news agency NTB.

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration said on Monday it wanted an independent investigation into the collapse.

A drone view of the Tretten Bridge over the river Laagen that collapsed, in Gudbrandsdalen, Norway, on Monday, August 15, 2022
The bridge, about 150 meters (500 ft) long, connects the west bank of the Gudbrandsdalslaagen and the village of Tretten. The bridge opened in 2012.
Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB Scanpix via AP

“Driving on Norwegian roads must be safe. That is why it is important to get to the bottom of this issue,” said the head of the department, Ingrid Dahl Hovland.

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Attlee Formo, who lives near Tritten Bridge, said he heard a “severe crash.”

“The whole house was trembling. I was lifting the curtains in the bedroom and looking straight at a bridge that spans the river.”

A similar nearby bridge in Sjoa in the Goodbrand Valley, also made of glued plywood, collapsed in 2016. The truck driver who was crossing the bridge at the time of the collapse was slightly injured.

After this collapse, 11 similar bridges, including the one in Tretten, were temporarily closed by the government body responsible for infrastructure in Norway. “The direct cause of the bridge’s collapse was a faulty joint in the frame,” the agency said in a report on the 2016 collapse.

Norway’s Transport Minister Jon Ivar Nygaard is due to visit the site of the latest bridge collapse later on Monday.