The driver, who used to drive on the Mirepoix-sur-Tarn bridge with lighter vehicles, seems to have acted "almost spontaneously", according to the prosecutor. The lack of signaling on alternative routes is also pointed out.


The passage of a vehicle too heavy seems to be responsible for the collapse of the bridge Mirepoix-sur-Tarn, which killed two people Monday morning. After inspecting the carcass of the truck, which still lies on the bottom of the river, the investigators made the accounts: the truck, its trailer and the drill it was carrying weighed a total of more than 50 tons, while the crossing was forbidden heavy goods vehicles over 19 tonnes.

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"One really wonders what went through his head", wonders the former boss of the drilling company, joined by Europe 1. The latter is said "stunned". Before relinquishing his business last February, he had spent six months training the new owner, reviewing the bridges he was not allowed to cross, including the one at Mirepoix. However, the driver entered the building, despite the ban, but also the honking and lighthouse calls of his employee who followed him. For the prosecutor Dominique Alzeari, he would have acted mechanically.

"He was someone who was known to be rigorous"

"The driver and the manager of the SARL very commonly borrowed this lane and this suspension bridge with light vehicles, vans or even trucks of less tonnage.That day, he went, I was going to say almost spontaneously, on his route, while it was someone who was known to be rigorous and to identify his routes, "says the prosecutor. "It was at the moment the vehicle was on the bridge that it certainly caused the collapse, immediate and total, of the bridge," he continues.

But the prosecutor is still cautious. Investigations have yet to be made to determine if the actual structure of the bridge is not in question, and whether the overload alone has caused the collapse.

No signpost suggesting alternative routes

Some voices are also raised to denounce a lack of signaling for trucks. "The blue sign that usually indicates the route to follow for trucks, it is never indicated.If it is a driver of the corner, it's ok, but if he does not know and the GPS indicates to go straight, how does he know? "asks Europe 1 a truck driver from the region.

As our reporters have noted, although there are indeed three signs indicating that the bridge is prohibited for vehicles over 19 tonnes, none indicate alternative routes, on this road where the passage of trucks is rare.

Still, a route must be prepared long upstream, and the driver has some responsibility, even if he was misled by his GPS. For Louis-Michel Barraud, of the National Federation of Carriers of Normandy, interviewed by Europe 1, GPS stupefy drivers. "I happened to ask a driver why he had taken a specific route, and he said, 'It's not me, it's the GPS that made me go there.' It's stupid, man is very important in this business, "he says.

According to him, it is essential to train, and especially to educate, young road users to the most reliable technology of the trade: the road map, and all the information on the bridge that it tells us.