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Kefalonia tourist bridge collapses

- by Liz Waugh

Kefalonia tourist bridge collapses.

Many visitors on a holiday in Kefalonia last summer will have strolled along the British-built bridge that lies across the Argostoli lagoon.

The bridge has become a major Kefalonia holiday attraction. But, after many promises and several false starts on renovating the bridge, it was closed this week after part of it collapsed into the lagoon at Argostoli.

Workmen have now sealed off the Kefalonia tourist attraction following the latest setback and accusations fly over who is responsible for allowing the popular Kefalonia bridge to fall into such a sorry state.

The Kefalonia bridge has been closed to traffic for many years over safety fears but it was still open to pedestrians. After six years of political wrangling, the go-ahead was finally given for bridge restoration work to begin.

The Argostoli bridge is variously called the De Bosset, the Drepano or the Devosetou bridge and it's a major Argostoli holiday attraction. The bridge Is a great place for fishing as well as an ideal venue for a romantic evening walk, with panoramic views of Argostoli.

The British Army built the bridge in 1811-1813. It was first constructed of wood but the bridge carried so much traffic it was quickly rebuilt in stone. It is the longest stone bridge to be built over the sea with a length of about 900 metres.

The Kefalonia bridge was named after a Swiss engineer Philip Charles-De Bosset, who was an officer in the English army.

A marble obelisk was erected in the middle of the bridge to commemorate its British builders. Across the bridge from Argostoli lie English and Italian cemeteries as well as the Greek cemetery of the Monastery of Drapanos.

The bridge was renovated between 1822 and in 1830 but suffered some bomb damage in World War Two. The earthquake of 1953 also caused sections of the bridge to sink and cracks to appear.

Nevertheless the bridge survived as a Kefalonia holiday attraction and in 1970 it was declared national monument. But little has been done since then to preserve the Kefalonia bridge and it has gradually fallen into disrepair.