Arrábida bridge pronounced ‘safe’ despite falling masonry

Porto’s Arrábida Bridge had to be closed off earlier this week after various pieces of masonry fell onto the road.

Following high-profile scare stories on the state of Lisbon’s April 25 bridge (click here), managing entity Infraestruturas de Portugal has repeated its mantra that there is nothing structurally wrong with the reinforced concrete structure, thus no risks to public safety.

Having said that, “rendering works, and protection to joists” are now to go ahead, at a date likely to be specified very soon.

The reinforced concrete arch-bridge spans the Douro River and connects Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia.

It opened in 1963 and at the time enjoyed the fame of being “the largest arch bridge in the world”.

Now a national monument, the shock of falling masonry will have precipitated the current makeover which, say reports, will go ahead ‘at night’’.

It will involve “the controlled removal of concrete” during which time the bridge will once again be temporarily closed to traffic.

On Tuesday night, when the first bits of masonry fell to the ground, the bridge was swiftly closed in both directions. It reopened this morning (May 16).

Stress reports, throughout its lifespan the bridge has been the subject of regular inspections by IP and LNEC, the national laboratory of civil engineering.

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