Edition 1505
15 December 2018
Edition: 1505

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Expert dismisses bridge 'collapse' fears, urges structural work 'soon'

by TPN/Lusa, in News · 12-04-2018 08:59:00 · 0 Comments

The president of Portugal's National Civil Engineering Laboratory (LNEC) on Wednesday dismissed reports that the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge over the River Tagus at Lisbon is at risk of collapse, but stressed that, if work is not carried out soon, rail traffic on it will have to be scaled back.

Expert dismisses bridge 'collapse' fears, urges structural work 'soon'

 

Carlos Pina was testifying before parliament's committee of economy, innovation and public works at the request of several parties, on a report relating to the need for work on the bridge that is expected to take around two years.

 

Pina assured deputies that the structure is not at risk of collapse, although the latter word was used in the report.

 

"The word 'collapse' is used in terms of engineering in various contexts," he explained. "On the Ponte 25 de Abril we have already seen the collapse in zones that have the cracks.

 

"What is referred to in this report is that, aside from this one-off situation, there could be the collapse of some structural element: a series of points, a sheet of steel that is placed on top of a beam."

 

If such an event takes place “it will not evolve immediately to a serious situation for the bridge," Pina continued, adding that the structure “has a series of links of elements that, as a whole, guarantee its safety."

 

So while there could be "small collapses, small details, for example in an area a screw is less tightly screwed, without putting at risk the functionality" of the bridge, if this happens "in the timescale that we foresee for this operation, which is of about three years," then all should be well. LNEC, he added, "will always be monitoring the performance of work to detect anomalous behaviour."

 

Pina noted that, although the original design for the bridge, in 1966, foresaw the addition of a rail line - which only happened more than three decades later - the daily passage of trains has represented an effort for the structure. If work is not started soon, he warned, "mitigation measures" will have to be adopted, such as a reduction of train traffic - in terms of the size of the trains and the amount of freight carried.

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Edition 1505
15 December 2018
Edition: 1505

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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