Bermuda bridge collapses over tourist route after car-chasing vehicle slams on to bridge

Road from Barbados to Bermuda won’t be closed as the British government now decides whether it can reopen

A Caribbean island has dodged the fate of Italy’s quake-devastated Amatrice after a clogged waterway allowed runaway vehicles to ram a bus – bringing down a bridge, but causing no fatalities – at speeds of up to 228 kph (140 mph).

The Mallalieu bridge, which connects Barbados and Bermuda, went down on Saturday when cars and motorbikes slid off their narrow winding highway and crashed into it as they tried to break away after leaving a beach resort.

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The double-decker bus carrying the driver and eight other passengers was removed off the bridge on Monday, allowing traffic to begin travelling on the heavily damaged roadway. It was hoped that the tourist route could reopen before the next holiday weekend.

The West Indies highway authority said the bridge suffered damage to the east of the structure, causing both lanes to tumble into the water.

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The British high commissioner to Barbados, John Honeyman, said the damage was so significant the highway could be closed for months to recover.

“It’s a very serious situation,” he said. “It’s a big cliff to climb down.”

The government of Bermuda said on Monday it was still assessing the damage to the bridge, and had not yet determined whether it could be repaired or whether it needed to be replaced.

The bridge can be driven over, but the remnants of people on top of it cause another obstacle to form, making the climb to it tricky. That’s why people have been parking cars on the side of the highway to escape the traffic.

Watery fame comes with risks in #RipassBermuda after Palmersfield town centre bridge collapsed overnight. More on #RIPassBermuda #rwnd — Rob Healey (@RRHEALEY) September 8, 2017

David Mamet’s hit play Death of a Salesman was filmed and become a movie in 1972, but the European country was far from the production’s stage. About 16,000 spectators showed up for the three-day Labour Day festival that followed at the resort of the same name, more than the combined total number of those to see the production.

Mamet’s 1934 Pulitzer prize-winning play, about a salesman who falls on hard times, was written in Baltimore and was said to be inspired by British author Horace Walpole’s book, The Salesman, but came under fire for incisively skewering hard-working, blue-collar Americans. It earned five Tony awards, including best play, and has become a perennial summer hit in Bermuda.

According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, the road that carries about 65,000 vehicles a year was built after the 1940s. The administration said repairs will take about nine months.

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In Italy, at least 560 people died and hundreds were injured when Italy’s strongest earthquake in 36 years struck central and northern Italy on 6 August.

Experts say the greatest risk of aftershocks and landslides remains in the Abruzzo region, where the 6.2-magnitude quake flattened houses, triggering mudslides and sending boulders crashing down mountain slopes and crushing houses. The government was expected to approve a €35bn (£29bn) emergency fund on Monday to cover the costs of reconstruction.

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