France- An audit commissioned by the French government has warned that about 840 bridges across the country are at a risk of collapsing in the upcoming years. These bridges are reportedly featuring serious impairment.
According to the audit, one third of 12,000 government-maintained bridges in France need repairs. The audit was submitted to the Minister of Transport last month, and has been published by the newspaper Journal du Dimanche, on Sunday.
It said that about 7 per cent, e.i. 840 bridges, are prone to a “risk of collapse” in the upcoming years. If the spending will remain at the current levels, these bridges may also be closed down due to the severe damages.
The report said, apart from lack of funding, “insufficient technical staff” to maintain them was also to blame.
The report didn’t mention the names of the bridges. Besides, it didn’t address thousands of French bridges maintained by local authorities and private companies, which have witnessed budget cuts in the recent years.
The government of President Emmanuel Macron has already assured new infrastructure expenditure. However, after Tuesday’s bridge collapse in Genoa, the government is coming under further pressure.
A summary of the audit released last month by the government, was just blaming previous administrations for inadequate and inconsistent road funding. It also said that the increasing episodes of extreme weather and growth in traffic have worsened the problem.
The request of The Associated Press news agency for comments on Sunday received no response from the Transport Ministry.
Last week, the Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne told broadcaster Franceinfo that the bridge “maintenance is our priority.” She also announced plans for a 1bn euro plan to “save the nation’s roads”, including bridges and tunnels. Besides, she also repeated plans for a new infrastructure law after the summer holidays.
Not just in France, the Genoa bridge collapse has also shone a spotlight on road maintenance in Italy.
Among the top five European economies after the 2008 economic crisis, the Italian investments in roads sank most drastically. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, they have never fully recovered.
The warning raised by the French government is much of an appreciation. The country is taking a considerate step, as a precaution towards the lives of the citizens.