Railway bridge collapses in southeastern Norway after last week’s torrential rain

A section of a railway bridge collapsed into the water over the Laagen River in Ringebu, Norway, Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. A railway bridge in southeastern Norway, running across a river that had swollen following last weeks of torrential rain, collapsed on Monday, authorities said. (Lars Skjeggestad Kleven/NTB Scanpix via AP)
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Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A railway bridge in southeastern Norway that ran across a river swollen by torrential rain collapsed on Monday, authorities said.

BaneNOR, a government agency in charge of the Norwegian rail infrastructure, said the central section of the steel truss bridge over the Laagen River slid into the water “due to damage to the central bridge foundation.”

All traffic across the bridge was halted a week ago out of fear that it would collapse because of the large volume of water.

“Bane NOR had just begun investigating the extent of the damage to the bridge on Monday morning when the middle part slid into the river,” the agency said in a statement.

The bridge is 172.5 meters (189 yards) long with three spans. It has a direct foundation on the riverbed, and was built in 1957.

Eivind Bjurstrøm at Bane NOR said that the collapse of the bridge “never involved a danger to life and health, which I am very happy about.”

The rain led to the evacuation of thousands in southeastern Norway, where a huge amount of water, littered with broken trees, debris and trash, thundered down the usually serene rivers after days of torrential rain.

Storm Hans battered northern Europe, leading to transportation disruption, flooding and power cuts across the Nordic and Baltic region. At least three people were killed.

A hydroelectric river dam in southeastern Norway collapsed as water forced its way through, and a train derailed in neighboring Sweden when a railway embankment was washed away by floods.