NEWS

Lightning caused Rio bridge fire

A freak bolt of lightening led to a fire breaking out on one of the Rio-to-Antirio bridge suspension cables, causing the 770-million-euro construction to close for five days at the end of January, experts said yesterday. The unusual power of the lightning bolt and the subsequent blaze came together to create an incident the kind of which had never been recorded before on a bridge said Jean-Paul Teyssandier, president of the Gefyra consortium which operates the 2.25-kilometer bridge. He said that lightning would normally be conducted by one of the rods located on each of the pylons. Experts are still examining the charred remains of the cable that caught fire, Teyssandier said, and this may result in the bridge’s lightning protection system being improved. The bridge operators also took the opportunity to set out a new pricing scheme, to begin on Monday, which will see tolls for cars rising from 9.70 to 10 euros and from 1.50 to 1.60 euros for motorbikes. However, toll charges for trucks will range from between 15.50 and 35 euros as opposed to 15 to 44 euros.