A critical railway bridge in Norway has collapsed into a river after a storm caused widespread damage to infrastructure.

The middle part of the Randklev Bridge in Ringebu, which is crossed by the Dovre line connecting Oslo and Trondheim, slid into the Lågen River on Monday morning.

It is the latest high-profile casualty of the storm, named Hans, which swept through the southern part of the country, causing record high river levels, landslides and mass evacuations.

The state-owned rail infrastructure company Bane Nor said it was investigating the extent of the damage to the 172.5 metre-long steel bridge built in 1957.

The railway company said it does not know when the bridge, which was closed at the time for safety reasons, will reopen and that damage has also occurred to other parts of the line.

While rail bosses said it was impossible to say exactly what had caused the damage, it happened in an “extreme flood situation”.

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Track manager Sigbjørn Korsgård said: “There is no danger of the bridge drifting further down the river. But we want to get it out of the water as quickly as possible to ensure the flow of water in Lågen and to be able to put a bridge back over the river in place.”

The old railway bridge next to it, which has been converted into a road bridge, has remained standing, but will be closed for some time.

Korsgård said they were in the process of cordoning off the area and putting up a fence at three roads that lead to the bridge.

Heavy showers were forecast in the area for Tuesday, making conditions more challenging.

“It is demanding. There is still a lot of high water flow in Lågen, and the terrain is saturated with water, so it is a demanding situation,” said Korsgård.

Railway bridges undergo a general inspection every six years, the rail company said, adding that the Randklev bridge was last checked in 2019 and that in 2021 it was sandblasted and painted.

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