Nearly 60 people were evacuated from 10 residential buildings at Sandviken just north of downtown Bergen early Wednesday morning, after a watermain burst and sent large volumes of water pouring through their hilly neighbourhood. The main E39 highway through the area also had to be closed for fear portions of it would collapse.
State broadcaster NRK reported traffic chaos during the morning commute after the water washed out a retaining wall, set off landslides and bored out a hole under the E39. Emergency crews feared the main road into downtown Bergen would also be washed out near the toll plaza in Sandviken, so closed the road’s southbound lanes.
Another 240 homes in the area were either without water or had very low water pressure after the main pipe burst. Officials were warning residents to boil any water coming out of the taps, because of contamination risk.
Police were urging residents to work from home if they could to relieve traffic congestion, as vehicles stood still during the morning commuter rush. Geologists were called in to assess damage, further risk and prospects for repairs. Many people just started walking since bus traffic also was restricted. Detours involved long drives east of Bergen, meaning many people also were likely to miss flights from Bergen’s Flesland airport south of the city.