By: CECÍLIA PIRES
THE INTERNATIONAL Bridge crossing the Guadiana River in the eastern Algarve is to undergo repair work at the beginning of 2009 on the Portuguese side of the border.
The company that manages roads in Portugal, Estradas de Portugal, has launched a public tender for the work on a 60-metre stretch of the bridge.
The area was partially destroyed in a fire that resulted from a road crash in 2006.
The accident involved a heavy truck that toppled over the bridge near the salt mines of Castro Marim and resulted in the death of the driver.
This will be the second time that the bridge has been repaired in the same spot, but Estradas de Portugal has assured the public that the structure is not in danger of collapse.
Paula Ramos Chaves, spokesman for the company, could not give the exact date for the work to start but, did say that the total or partial closure of the bridge is not planned for the time being.
“If a replacement of some of the support systems is required, then it may be necessary to stop the traffic. But this would be for very a limited period,” she said.
She also confirmed that the repair work will last for 45 days.
The project, which has a budget of 125,000 euros for repairs to the 60 metre section, will focus on the support pillars that were affected by the fire plus the cement roadway.
The building of the Guadiana Bridge started in 1985 and the structure opened to traffic in 1991. It has four lanes and its central pillar is 666 metres high, the third highest in the country, after the Lisbon bridges of 25 de Abril and Vasco da Gama.
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