Large chunk of Swedish motorway collapses after landslide

TT/AFP/The Local
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Large chunk of Swedish motorway collapses after landslide
A landslide in southwest Sweden has collapsed a motorway. Photo: Adam Ihse / TT

A landslide tore apart a stretch of motorway in Sweden on Saturday, injuring three people, police and emergency services said.


Whole sections of a motorway collapsed overnight between Gothenburg in Sweden and Norway's capital Oslo, police confirmed on Saturday.

The landslide has caused major damage in both north and southbound directions on the E6, near the small Swedish town of Stenungsund.

It ripped up a petrol station car park, overturned lorries and caved in the roof of a Burger King restaurant.

The road is now completely closed in both directions, confirmed Lidia Bradaric, alarm and management operator at the emergency services in Greater Gothenburg on Saturday morning.

An aerial shot of the landslide's devastation of the E6. Photo: Adam Ihse / TT

Police are investigating whether blasting works at an ongoing construction project nearby may have caused the landslide.


At the time of writing, it is unclear whether there is any connection between construction works and the landslide.

Police have opened a probe into "aggravated public destruction" and will question staff at the building site, but said there was not a definitive link "between the blasting, the work on the site and the collapse".

A Burger King restaurant is located in the same area and images from the site show that the roof of the restaurant has partially collapsed. Photo: Adam Ihse / TT

A drone image from the site shows that the road has suffered extensive damage in several places in both directions.

The greatest impact appears to have occurred at a petrol station, where a large crack runs across the landscape from one side of the road to the other. Several lorries in the area have been damaged and overturned.

Photo: Adam Ihse / TT

"It is a very large area, approximately 500 metres in diameter, that has been affected," stated police spokesperson August Brandt.

The worst-hit area covers around 100 metres by 150 metres (330 by 500 feet), but the landslide affected an area of around 700 metres by 200 metres in total, the emergency services said.

 Uladzislau Miklash, a lorry driver, was asleep in his parked vehicle when he felt it start to slide.

"I had no idea what was happening," he told P4 Vast radio.

The landslide "affected around ten vehicles, a forest area and a commercial area including a petrol station and a fast-food restaurant", said regional emergency services chief Daniel Lyckelid.

Images on local media showed damaged lorries and a bus that had fallen into a trench.

"Several people were helped out of their vehicles in the area of the landslide with the help of the fire brigade and helicopters," the emergency services added.


Specially trained search and rescue services and dogs continue to scour the collapsed road.

Swedish emergency services were alerted overnight. Photo: Adam Ihse / TT

Lorries have been damaged and tipped over when crossing the damaged motorway. Photo: Adam Ihse / TT

In total, around ten vehicles have driven into one of the road holes, sources confirmed.

As emergency services said they could not rule out the risk of further landslides, the public are advised to avoid the area.

Police have cordoned off a large part of the motorway due to the potential risk of collapse. Authorities plan to close the section of the E6 motorway for several weeks, while traffic is being diverted via road 650.

Authorities have estimated that the impact on traffic will be "enormous" for a long time to come.


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