New requests for the placement of other Belay bridges in areas affected by the catastrophic floods in Thessaly are being accepted by the Research and Construction Unit (MOMKA) of the GRETHA, after the placement of such an articulated prefabricated bridge in Kala Nera and the immediate restoration of the road connection of the Volos and South Pelion network that had been interrupted due to the collapse of the existing bridge. Speaking to APE – BEE, the director of the Unit, Lt. Gen Michael Klouvas points out that the requests are enough and clarifies that due to major damage to the road network, before the bridge is installed, the restoration of the damage at the access points to it and specifically on the two banks – border of the cliff is required.

“We would have already started the installation of other bridges, but some small infrastructure projects must be preceded in order to be able to set them up,” he notes characteristically. At the same time, he comments that things are still fluid while positive developments are emerging regarding the promotion of the immediate construction of normal and permanent bridges at specific points.

Mr. Klouvas points out that the enthusiasm of the local communities is great at the time of installation and delivery of the Bailey bridge, which is actually assembled within a few hours. “Recognizing the military’s contribution to local communities empowers us to want to build the bridge faster and make it better. Especially in Kala Nera it seemed that this thing was the first positive thing that happened to the local community. People’s response was so warm that sometimes it made us feel ashamed…” he says characteristically.

Sixteen Baileys were installed in the last six years

It is noted that in the last six years the Research and Construction Unit (MOMKA) of GETHA installed sixteen Belay bridges in various regions of Greece, all for reasons of natural disasters. In particular, four bridges were installed in Crete, one in Feneo in Corinth, four in the wider area of ​​Evia, three in Thessaly, two in Ioannina and two in Kefalonia. The champion in belay length is the one who was placed in Megalo Peristeri in Ioannina and is 50 meters long, while the most difficult from a technical point of view was the one in Kefalonia Winter.

“Belays are the most reliable, flexible and above all fast. It can be used immediately in the event of a natural disaster, especially when the population has a sense of hopelessness about what is happening. It is a big deal for essential reasons as well as for psychological reasons and for reasons of morale that the army can provide such a solution, immediate and functional”, emphasizes Mr. Klouvas. He mentions, in fact, that the material of these constructions, with the appropriate maintenance and the necessary control, has a very high reliability, for many years.

Bailey’s story

Presenting the history of the Bailey Bridge, the director of the Research and Construction Unit of the GHETHA states that the British civil engineer Donald Bailey, who also received the title of Sir, had started to design this bridge as part of his PhD, making simulations with which, in fact, his son also played, as shown in videos of that time. The philosophy with which it was created, during the Second World War, was based on its ability to be assembled by only eight people, so that it could be erected quickly, without machinery and by a few people wherever and whenever the war operations required it. “No one could have thought at the time that such a simple construction would have such an impact” notes Mr. Klouvas and mentions that today one can find such bridges in every corner of the world, whether for reasons of connecting regions, or as tourist attractions. or as points of historical interest.

Belay Material Stock Still Available – New Material Supplies & Old Bridge Collection

Today over a hundred Belay bridges are located in various parts of the country while there are stocks of materials and the process of procuring new ones has been started for years. At the same time, according to Mr. Klouvas, “the Greek army has entered into a large process of collecting old such bridges that have become disreputable due to the construction of new ones next to them”. Despite the cost of lifting and transportation, this process continues to recover a significant stock of bridges that are not in use and to be used in cases of natural disasters. In any case, the construction is considered a living organism, the correct functioning of which is ensured by the team of engineers who maintain it and control its operation.