Traffic restrictions have been imposed on Greece’s second-longest bridge near Kozani amid concerns over structural problems during a recent visual inspection by a UK-based professor of bridge construction and the governor of Western Madcedonia George Kasapidis.
Associate Professor Stergios Mitoulis of the University of Surrey noted following the inspection of the 1.372m long High Bridge of Servia (or Polyfytos Lake Bridge) that there was “vertical movement of some of the bridge piers that are visible to the naked eye,” and that “central portions of the pylons are not well connected to the deck of the bridge and there is a danger of falling.”
According to Vima, Dr Mitoulis compared the design and building methods to the bridge that collapsed in Genoa on August 14, 2018. Similar methods and materials were used in the construction of both bridges.
The problem with the Servia bridge that was completed in 1975, is that there is vertical movement on some of the bridge piers by as much as 1cm a year.
Dr Mitoulis who is a member of infrastructuResilience, an engineering organisation with projects around the world, said that he had conducted a visual inspection of the bridge with “the Governor of Western Macedonia and his consultants and preventive measures were decided to be taken for safeguarding its integrity and the safety of end users and citizens.”
Dr Mitoulis said infrastructuResilience was there to offer consultation and added that “the bridge will need some immediate action to reduce its risk and enhance its static integrity.”
He told Neos Kosmos that work would have to start within a few months after a preliminary assessment was completed and short-term measures were designed for the repair work to begin.
For now, a speed limit of 40km/h is being applied and vehicles that are over 50 tonnes are not allowed to use the bridge.