People, firms coming forward to help get historic bridge back up

A growing number of people and firms are offering the government assistance in the project to rebuild the historic Plaka Bridge in northeastern Greece, which collapsed over the weekend.

Gefyra SA, the company that built and manages the Rio-Antirio Bridge, said on Wednesday that it is willing to provide technical expertise and funding for the bridge’s reconstruction.

“It was a unique monument, a technical achievement for its era,” said the firm’s CEO Panayiotis Papanikolas, who is from Epirus, where the bridge is located. “Gefyra and [French mother company] Vinci want to help by offering our services and financial support so the bridge can be rebuilt. We are bridge builders too and have great respect for the artisans of that era.”

The bridge spanned the Arachthos River and was built in 1866. It was 40 meters high and 20 meters wide, making it one of the largest one-arch stone bridges in Europe.

Businessman Nikos Loulis has offered to cover the cost of reconstructing the bridge and the National Union of Architects has said it is willing to provide its services for free.