Experts warn of further road collapse
TT/The Local · 22 Dec 2006, 12:26
Published: 22 Dec 2006 12:26 GMT+01:00
Crushed cars and the remains of what was once one of Sweden's main roads was being kept under careful observation on Friday morning by police and security guards. The dramatic collapse of a 400 metre stretch of the E6 north of Uddevalla on Wednesday evening has attracted onlookers but officials warned that the collapse is continuing.
"The problem is that curious people want to go right up to the edge for a look," said Nina Heyden, who is leading the police effort in the area.
But police and road experts are advising people to stay away, as there is still risk of further landslide in the area.
"One of our tasks now is to ensure that nobody can approach the area by roads, or on foot on the hillside," said Heyden.
The collapse happened just after 7pm on Wednesday and took with it ten cars carrying 28 people. It appeared to have been caused by recent heavy downpours in the region.
Eight people needed hospital treatment following the incident, but a spokesman for the emergency services said that it was "an absolute miracle" that everyone was rescued.
Police will keep three units at the scene round the clock, and they are supported security guards.
Numerous cars are still lying in, or on, the remnants of the road and the security guards have been tasked with preventing anything from being stolen from them.
The director general of the Swedish Road Administration, Ingemar Skogö, told Swedish Radio that cost of rebuilding the E6 could reach 100 million kronor.
"If we don't get an extra grant from the government we're going to have to re-prioritise the money we have," he said.
The E6 is the main road connecting Norway to the rest of Europe. Diversions of up to 50km are in place and smaller roads in the area will bear the brunt of the traffic.
Weather permitting, the area will be surveyed by helicopter over the next few days as the Road Administration tries to pinpoint why the collapse happened.
"It could take several weeks before we know how the area has been affected. There could be things which have been hidden from us," said Arne Pettersson, the administration's crisis leader, to Svenska Dagbladet.
According to Mats O Paulsson, the vice managing director of Peab, which built the road, there was nothing wrong with the way the job was done. But he acknowledged the problems of construction in the region.
"It's a difficult area to build on, just like in the whole of the Bohus district. There's lots of clay along the rivers and most of all on the hillsides," said Paulsson to SvD.