‘Crumbling bridge’ over E313 motorway to be closed permanently
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    ‘Crumbling bridge’ over E313 motorway to be closed permanently

    The bridge had been provisionally closed to prevent vibrations from motorised traffic leading to additional damage. Credit: Google Street View

    The bridge of the Wijnegemsteenweg road over the E313 motorway in Wommelgem in the Antwerp province, where some pieces of concrete crumbled down in December, will remain closed to motorised traffic permanently.

    A new bridge over the E313 motorway will be built in 2022, reports the Agency for Roads and Traffic, which examined the bridge in cooperation with the Flemish Department for Mobility and Public Works.

    The bridge had been provisionally closed to prevent vibrations from motorised traffic leading to additional damage. However, the bridge will not be demolished either, so pedestrians and cyclists can still use it. Inspections will be carried out to detect further loose concrete in time.

    “The various investigations that have taken place on the bridge over the past few weeks have shown that the pre-tensioning cables carrying the bridge span are losing tension due to age and wear and tear,” said the Road and Traffic Agency to the Belga press agency.

    “This reduces the capacity of the bridge, and puts pressure on the structure. As a result, the concrete around the cables is crumbling and coming loose. It is therefore important to avoid further significant stress on the structure,” the Agency added.

    The construction of a new bridge is planned for 2022 and cannot be done earlier, partly because important industrial gas pipelines along the E313 may have to be moved, according to Roads and Traffic.

    The permit application for the bridge will take into account, among other things, a possible widening of the motorway as well as a new cycle path under the bridge.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times