Traffic chaos as boat rams bridge

Essingeleden, one of Stockholm's busiest motorway sections was closed on Friday afternoon after a bridge between the islands Stora and Lilla Essingen was rammed by a crane boat.

According to witnesses the bridge has been damaged. Essingeleden was entirely shut off for over three hours, and experts will work overnight to determine what repair work is needed.

“The worst scenario would be if the bridge has to be shut for a long time for rebuilding,” said Björn Engström, press spokesman at Stockholm Police.

During the afternoon the police questioned the crew on the barge. By 3pm the traffic problems were “very extensive”.

Half an hour after the crash, which occurred at 1pm on Friday, the police slowly started to redirect the cars from the damaged bridge. A smaller parallel bridge between Stora and Lilla Essingen is, according to the police, undamaged, and that was used to channel traffic away from the scene.

No injuries were reported.

The crane which hit the bridge is the biggest pontoon crane in the country, according to the police.

“It is very unclear what the consequences will be,” said Björn Engström. According to witnesses the crane boat left the scene and continued its journey into Mälaren after it came loose.

At around 2pm the police managed to stop the barge with the help of helicopters and the coast guard.

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TT/The Local