300 meter long motorway bridge over the Waiho at Franz Josef Washed Away in the Storms
FRANZ JOSEF (NEW ZEALAND)-
Less than two weeks after the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, which left 50 people dead and scores injured, residents on the South Island of New Zealand are dealing with another mishap- this time by Mother Nature. Storms and high winds, producing rainfall of up to 550 mm or 10% of the yearly rainfall amount caused widespread flooding and erosion in the Franz Josef Glacier Region and putting tourism in the town of Franz Josef/Waiau, with 450 inhabitants, plus areas along the Waihou River in peril. At the time of this posting, one person was reported to have died after being swept away by floodwaters.
Many roads have been washed out and bridges damaged. But one bridge in particular, which connects Franz Josef with areas near Haast, has been washed away by floodwaters, thus leaving tourists stranded and having to look for another crossing. The Waihou Bridge at Franz Josef lost two thirds of its spans on Tuesday, as the raging river, ripped the bridge off its abutments, broke off two spans sending it down the river and left a third one hanging in the water. A video taken by a spectator shows the destruction of the bridge:
The six-span bridge was a Bailey pony truss with a total length of approximately 300 meters long. The width was no more than 6 meters, which meant only one car could cross and a speed limit of 30 kilometers/hour was enforced. It is unknown when that bridge was built, let alone how long until a replacement span is constructed. It did serve a major highway going along the West Coast of the South Island. Just minutes before the wash-out, there were people on the bridge viewing the rising waters of the Waiho River, some filmed it from the bridge before getting off. The disaster happened when no one was on the bridge.
Ironically, another key bridge, the Waihou Swinging Bridge near Franz Josef, was not affected by the floods and is still open for hikers and pedestrians. The 90-year old bridge was fabricated in England before it was shipped to New Zealand. It still is a popular attraction for tourists.
Franz Josef is 32 kilometers away from the nearest city of Whataora to the northeast. It is on the western side of the island, almost exactly opposite of Christchurch but over 450 flying kilometers away to the east.
ALSO:The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles is looking into the suspicious loss of subscribers on its regular wordpress page. On Saturday the 16th, the number of subscribers went from 901 to 201 for unknown reasons. It is possible that subscribers may not be getting their articles on a regular basis. If you are one of them, please resubscribe via E-Mail or follow the Chronicles on the social network platforms. We would like to make sure everyone is connected and are getting the Posts and the like on a regular Basis. The Slogan is “No Reader/Subscriber left behind.” For those who are interested in following the Chronicles, please spread the word and encourage others to join.
The storm front Oceanis has been wreaking havoc in the regions of southern Europe, dumping meters of snow and extreme cold temperatures in places like Greece, whereas other regions, such as the island of Crete, has been experiencing flooding and mudslides. One person has been confirmed dead so far, but the casualty count is expected to rise. The Island of Crete has been hit the hardest by the storm as floodwaters have caused significant damage to Buildings and infrastructure.
Among those hit is the Chania Arch Bridge, which collapsed on Monday. The report was posted on Tuesday. As seen in the video above, torrential floodwaters wiped out two thirds of the three-span arch Bridge, which spans the Keritis River in Chania. According to the Greek Reporter:
The bridge over the Keritis River was built in 1908 and it was considered a contemporary monument. The bridge, featuring three arches and made of honey-colored stone, was a well-known tourist attraction for years in the Alcianos area of Chania’s Platanias Region.
According to the Keritis Tourism website, the bridge is located adjacent to the site where an execution took place by Nazi soldiers on 1 August, 1941, where 118 people were executed under the despicable charge of resistance against the German invasion in Crete. Some were disabled.
The collapse shocked many viewers on TV as it happened while reporters were covering the Story, as seen in the video below:
It is unknown if and when the Bridge will be rebuilt and whether it will mimick the original that was lost in the floods.
To learn more about the bridges that exist on the Island of Crete, check out this tour guide by clicking here. It can also be found on the Chronicles’s page under Tours and Lost Bridges.