Horror as bridge suffers massive collapse just days after strengthening work
Incredibly no one was injured as the damage dragged part of road into ravine
A bridge in Co Derry has experienced a dramatic collapse.
Strengthening work to Iniscarn Bridge, Loughinsholin outside Desertmartin, was completed just last week
But, a huge crater appeared in the bridge with much of the foundation and surface areas breaking away.
A water main also burst but it is not clear if it was damaged by the bridge or the gushing main was the cause of the bridge collapse.
An investigation is due to take place imminently.
Police attended the scene to close the road but with the Transport NI emergency telephone number out of action due to a technical fault, it took time to get Roads Service workers out with diversion and road closed signs.
Sinn Fein councillor Catherine Elattar visited the scene and said the damage was astounding.
She explained: “I drove over to see what locals were dealing with and when I saw the damage to the road and the bridge it really took my breath away.
“The bridge has gone, it’s lying on its side and the road has been pulled away too.
“There used to be an old railway under the bridge and at one stage there was a small river, but that has dried up and now it’s just overgrown with bushes.
“The bridge was very narrow and work to strengthen it and widen it has just finished.
“Luckily there was no one driving over the bridge at the time of the collapse and locals have assured me that no one is missing in the area so we believe no one has got caught up anywhere near it.
“A lot of work had been done to strengthen and widen the bridge so two vehicles could pass on it if necessary and the worrying thing is that we have no idea at this stage what caused the collapse so soon after this work.
“NI Water are now working to repair a water main which is also broken. We don’t know if the water main caused the damage to the bridge or the bridge collapse caused the damage to the water main.
“The important thing is now that people stay away from the area and stay safe. I know people will be curious to see it, but I’d urge them to look at the photos online and do not attempt to go anywhere near this bridge even on foot. More areas could collapse and we don’t want to be dealing with human injury or worse.
“There is tape across the road and clear signs in many areas to say the road is closed and I’d ask people not to ignore them – it’s just too dangerous.
“The family living at a farm house metres from the bridge are all safe and accounted for and they are able to use a diversion.
“The road is impassable and traffic is being diverted from the area. This is going to be a long repair. An investigation will have to be carried out first and then repair work carried out.”