Old Lebanese Railway Bridge Collapses, No Injuries
By Staff, Agencies
A disused railway bridge over Beirut’s popular Armenia Street collapsed Friday morning after being hit by a large truck.
Photos shared on social media showed the iron bridge in the Mar Mikhael neighborhood crushing the cabin of the truck, which bore the logo of Maersk Line, a transport and logistics company.
The authority’s lawyer told local news channel al-Jadeed that the truck driver was unharmed. One video shared on social media showed onlookers breaking the driver's side window before helping him out of the vehicle.
Ziad Nasr, the head of the Railways and Public Transport Authority, told The Daily Star that the collapse had nothing to do with the bridge’s structural soundness.
“The bridge was struck by a large truck that was too tall for the bridge. There is a sign on the bridge clearly saying three meters,” Nasr said.
He added that the bridge would be restored after a technical study was undertaken.
“This bridge must be put back,” Nasr said, noting that it was not only a heritage site, but also an important part of a planned train link between Beirut and other parts of the country.
The bridge used to take trains to Mar Mikhael’s old train station. Lebanon’s train lines have been disused since the end of the Civil War.
A new initiative by a number of companies led by the Lebanon-based Eastern Resources Group, termed the Levant Gate Project, aims to revive the train line between Beirut and the Bekaa Valley.
As part of their plan, passengers would depart from the Mar Mikhael station, travel over the Beirut River for about 15 kilometers before entering a 25-kilometer sub-mountain tunnel.