Norway authorities consider temporary rail bridge to replace one washed away by Storm Hans

Norwegian authorities are considering the installation of a temporary bridge to replace the Randklev railway bridge that was washed away by Storm Hans earlier this month.

On 14 August, Storm Hans caused the middle section of the 172.5m long Randklev Bridge on the Dovre line, which connects Oslo to Trondheim, to collapse into the Lågen River as the river suffered from a very high water flow.

Now, Norway’s rail infrastructure operator BaneNor is considering several different options for constructing a temporary structure to get the Dovre line running again over the River Lågen. The long-term plan is to build a new permanent bridge over the river but costs and strain on the rail network are currently restricting this.

In addition, track is still closed between Ringebu and Dombås as BaneNor works to repair several smaller landslides triggered by the storm. Torrential rain in Trøndelag and Innlandet made the situation worse for BaneNor, where in several places train traffic had to be stopped while it conducts an extensive operation to clean up and reopen several sections of track.

The operator has now been able to open the stretch of line between Oslo and Lillehammer, between Dombås and Ulsberg and Berkåk and Støren.

BaneNor stated that there is still large amounts of water in the Lågen River, so limited work is able to be done there.

The operator and its partner authorities assessed whether available spare bridges in Norway and in neighbouring countries for both road and rail could be used as a temporary solution but its partners concluded the reserve bridges were not suitable for rail traffic on the section of damaged track.

BaneNor acting chief executive Henning Bråtebæk said: “The first thing we have to do is remove the parts of the bridge that are in the river. It is necessary if we are to be able to come up with a temporary solution.

“We do not know how long it will take to get a temporary bridge in place. Perhaps we can use parts of the Randklev Bridge in this work.”

BaneNor is further preparing to urgently procure a contractor to build the temporary bridge.

It stated it will work closely with the contractor to decide on a solution for what structure is built and when and how it is constructed.

Bråtebæk said: “We want this to happen quickly and are planning a simple and less labour-intensive tender process for the contractor.

“The goal is clear, we will get a new railway bridge over the River Lågen at Ringebu in place as soon as possible. At the same time, there is little doubt that it takes a long time to build a new bridge.”

A statement from BaneNor said: “We are working closely with the directorate of railways and the train companies in the situation that has arisen.

“The aim is to reduce the consequences for society, passengers and freight traffic as much as possible, but it is not possible to replace the Dovre line without major consequences in terms of costs, increased travel time and strain on the road network.”

BaneNor further stated it was working to increase capacity on the Røros line by changing the current timetable with the aim of allowing several freight trains that would normally run between Oslo and Trondheim on the Dovre line to use it.

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