The dangers of river scour affecting Network Rail bridges has been thrown dramatically into the spotlight by a bridge collapse in the US, as a train was crossing. The crew was unhurt.
Scour is the erosion of riverbeds and banks, which can strip away a bridge’s foundation, resulting in structural failure if not mitigated quickly. It is believed that scour, caused by record river flows as a result of snow melt and heavy rainfall, triggered the collapse of the Yellowstone Twin River Bridges in Stillwater County, Montana, on June 24.
Ten of the train’s 52 wagons, six of which contained hot asphalt, three liquid sulphur, and one scrap metal, plunged into the Yellowstone River. Some of the asphalt leaked into the water.
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