Lake Polyfytos Bridge, one of Greece's longest bridges is suffering structural problems according to civil engineer and associate professor at the University of Surrey in the UK, Stergios Mitoulis.
An autopsy was conducted on the bridge which is 1,372 meters long, by Stergios Mitosis in the presence of Regional Governor of Western Macedonia, George Kassapidis.
Lake Polyfytos Bridge was built in the 1970s, simultaneously with the creation of the artificial lake of Polyfytos and forms part of the Larisa-Kozani highway.
Speaking to AMNA, Mitoulis noted that the problem identified is in the original section of the bridge from the city of Kozani to the town of Servia, where "there are vertical movements of some of the bridge piers that are visible even to the naked eye."
He also pointed out that "the central portions of the pylons are not well connected to the deck of the bridge" while not ruling out the "possibility of local collapses due to extensive damage that the potholes may present next."
Therefore, "the safety of the bridge has been reduced and further study and interventions are required as soon as possible," he added.
Mitoulis pointed out that the visual inspection is also not enough, that they need to "go in-depth to see what is going on inside the concrete... study in detail the inner box of the bridge and its condition and based on the data, safely say that they can take some action."
As an immediate measure, he proposes to "link the bridge pieces to the piers that currently appear to not be connected."
Preventative measures to reduce the load on the bridge have also been put into place including banning vehicles weighing over 50 tonnes and reducing the vehicle speed limit to 40 kilometers per hour.