Rio bridge to shut for days

The new Rio-to-Antirio bridge in western Greece will be closed to traffic for much longer than first thought after a fire snapped one of its suspension cables on Thursday morning, sources told Kathimerini yesterday. Initial estimates were that the bridge might reopen tomorrow, but sources say it will take at least 10 to 15 days to replace the damaged cable. The bridge has the world’s longest cable-stayed suspended deck at 2,256 meters. There are fears that the bridge may remain closed for even longer if French engineers, from the firm responsible for its construction, discover that the fire was caused by a problem with the cable’s material or some kind of design fault. The bridge drastically shortened travel times between the Peloponnese and central Greece. Initial assessments said that the 770-million-euro bridge caught fire after being struck by lightning. Other theories include the possibility that the blaze was sparked by wires rubbing together due to high winds or a short circuit in the electrical wires which run along the suspension cables.