Murmansk is a port city located 1,500 kilometers northwest of Moscow and a key center for trade in the Russian Arctic. The city is highly involved in coal transport, handling more than 17.6 million tons annually (2019 data).
The incident occurred on June 1, 2020. The bridge was constructed in 1930 and retrofitted 6 years ago.
A vast majority of goods in the city are transported via railways and a lot of people use trains for their everyday transport.
The bridge was the unique railway linkage between the two sides of the Kola River. “This route is the only one, so a temporary ban has been imposed on the loading of all goods to the Murmansk transport hub after the damage to the bridge,” Russian Railways stated.
Since May 30, the Kola River had been receiving large water flows due to snow melting and the water level had risen. The flows impacted the foundations of the bridge which failed 2 days later resulting in a total structural collapse.
Railway routes had stopped before the failure since engineers had previously found cracks in the bridge's pillars. Some restoration works were implemented, however, there were not enough to prevent the failure. Fortunately, no one was injured.
A criminal investigation on the deteriorating conditions of the bridge that led to the collapse is underway. Experts will identify the situation under which the bridge failed, assess the quality of the repairs previously implemented and evaluate the maintenance works.
According to Andrey Chibis, the governor of the region, a new bridge will be constructed within a short time period to restore the rail network. Authorities stated that the new bridge will be completed by October. A temporary structure will be erected to facilitate public and goods transportation within the next month and will probably be ready by June 23. Until then, good transportation will be conducted via trucks.
The port of Murmansk was highly affected by the incident. As of June 3, some vessels were sent to other ports to enable products' transportation. Moreover, several port operations will be halted until the normal conditions are restored.
Click the video below to watch footage from the collapsed bridge over the Kola River.