The Greek Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Christos Spirtzis announced today, February 2 that it is technically feasible to restore the historic bridge in Plaka, Arta which collapsed on Sunday due to bad weather conditions.
Spirtzis immediately traveled to Arta, northwestern Greece to assess the situation with representatives of the Greek Culture Ministry. Furthermore, he noted that when the bad weather conditions subside, workers are going to locate the old materials and reuse them to restore the historic bridge, with the help of the National Technical University of Athens that offered to take over the project for free.
The bridge in Plaka was the largest arch bridge in the Balkans, built by stone craftsmen during the 18th century. Its arc stretched for 40.20 meters, while its height reached 21 meters in the center.
The historic bridge operated as a customs station between free Greece and enslaved Epirus. It used to be a symbol of unity for resistance forces, while it is the place where the Plaka agreement was signed on February 29, 1944, providing for the joint operation of Greek resistance forces against the German occupation.
Furthermore, the bridge used to be a trade route, connecting Tzoumerka with Epirus and Thessaly. It had been hit by German bombs during World War II, but survived with minor damage to the right side. Locals repaired the arch with cement in 1943 and the bridge has since operated without any problems. Every year, on Epiphany, January 6, the Bridge of Plaka, is used for the christening of the Cross.