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A newly constructed bike path in Rio de Janeiro, connecting the southern coastal neighborhoods of Leblon and São Conrado, collapsed Thursday, killing at least two.
Brazilian news service O Globo reported that the elevated “Ciclovia Tim Maia,” which spans high above São Conrado beach, collapsed with at least five people on the path at the time.
An Associated Press photographer at the scene saw at least two bodies laid out on the beach.
The 3.9km “Ciclovia Tim Maia” bike path was opened on January 17th, and cost $44.7 million to build. The Rio Times reported that the path was funded by Brazil’s National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), adding to the infrastructure overhaul that the city of Rio de Janeiro is receiving ahead of the 2016 Olympics.
— G1 (@g1) April 21, 2016
Globo’s G1 spoke with Guilherme Miranda, a cyclist who was riding toward the bridge, who said a large wave hit the path, causing a segment of it to flip, and collapse.
“I almost died,” he said. “Where’s the mayor, where’s the engineer who did this work? It’s hopeless, you see people dying in front of you. Somebody has to give an answer, they spent $45 million on this. They just opened it, and it’s already cracked in several places.”
Municipal secretary Pedro Paulo Carvalho told O Globo that it was “premature” to say that there was a failure in the path’s construction.
However, Brazilian economist Cleber Pereira disputed that, saying it was “absurd” that a newly opened construction project, set upon the ocean, would collapse due to a breaking wave. “Where are the engineers who designed this?” he said. “A work of this size and they didn’t not provide for natural events like crashing waves?”
A video on the Facebook page of Brazilian bodyboarder Fabio Aquino shows the devastation. Aquino refers to the path as “the Olympic bike lane.” While the path is among many projects built in preparation for the Games, it was not to be used as part of the August 6-7 Olympic road races.
A situação só piora!!!!
A ciclovia olímpica acaba de cair!!!
O Brasil está acabando…
Posted by Fabio Aquino on Thursday, April 21, 2016
“The Jao climb, which the peloton will go over, is inland from this bridge by about one kilometer, as the crow flies,” explained Jim Miller, USA Cycling’s vice president of athletics, who has scouted the Olympic road course.
In the weeks after it was opened, local newspapers reported on assaults and robberies along the path, and featured photos of deterioration, showing missing handrails and rusting metal parts.