Russian Railways has suspended rail transport between the port of Murmansk and the rest of Russia after the collapse of the only railway bridge linking the two on Monday (1 June).
The foundations of the bridge across the River Kola were washed away by rapidly melting snow and strong flows of water on 1 June, and the bridge gave way on 3 June, the Emergencies Ministry said, according to Reuters. Nobody was hurt during the incident, officials added.
“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,” RR told Reuters.
The region’s governor, Andrey Chibis, said authorities aimed to link Murmansk back up to the nationwide railway network this month and that they were accelerating existing plans to build a new bridge, the according to reports by the TASS news agency.
Russia’s Investigative Committee, which handles probes into serious crimes, said it had opened a criminal investigation into what it said was a suspected violation of transport safety, but it gave no further details.
Murmansk Commercial Seaport, which is owned by coal mining company SUEK, handled 7.6 Mt of coal last year. Coal is transported by rail to the port for export.
Reuters said that SUEK did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Russian Railways did not say how long its ban would be in place. The Kommersant newspaper cited an unnamed source saying it will take months to repair the bridge.