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Safety scare as broken cable dangles from Guadiana Bridge

The safety of Guadiana Bridge is being questioned as one of its suspension cables – “broken three months ago” – remains dangling from the structure, with no-one apparently worried about fixing it.

Questions centre on what will happen if more cables break? Is anyone maintaining the bridge or could disaster be round the corner?

“The bridge has deteriorated and the cable that broke is a sign that urgent action is needed before a disaster occurs,” Castro Marim’s mayor Francisco Amaral has told TSF radio.

Vila Real de Santo António counterpart Luís Gomes has also weighed in, saying that if one cable has snapped, there’s a chance that others will go as well, as “they are all the same age and subject to the same weather conditions”.

Câncio Martins, the engineer responsible for the bridge’s original construction, appears equally worried.

Renovation work “should have been completed years ago”, he told TSF – adding that if other cables break, they could hit passing cars, causing serious accidents.

But Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP) – the national authority supposedly in charge of roads – has pooh-poohed the talk, saying renovation work is set to begin “after the summer”.

“The bridge is absolutely safe,” IP’s Rui Coutinho told Lusa news agency, stressing the bridge is regularly inspected.

“If there was any real danger, we would already have acted,” he said.

As the Resident reported last year (click here), a tender for the bridge’s renovation was launched eight months ago, but so far no company has been chosen.

The work is expected to cost the Portuguese and Spanish governments around €13 million.

The Guadiana Bridge is one of Portugal’s largest bridges. Officially opened in 1991, it is 666 metres-long and connects the south of Spain (Ayamonte) with Portugal (Castro Marim) over the Guadiana River.

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