A sudden landslide at motorway E6 near Stenungsund, north of Gothenburg in Sweden, took cars, a bus, trucks, a hamburger restaurant and more with it on 23 September. The earth moved tens of metres in another direction and fel up to 5 metres. Three motorists, who drove into the abyss, are treated in hospital. Authorities say repairs will take months.

The earth moved over an area of 700 by 200 metres, according to a statement by the Municipality of Stenungsund. It happened a little more than an hour after midnight on Saturday 23 September. Motorists that were able to stop in time, tried to warn other road users, but for some to no avail as driving speeds and darkness limited the reaction time. An replacement bus with only the driver on board also was affected.

See photos and watch a drone video at the website of Nyheter STO here.

At a gas station also affected resting truck drivers woke up with their vehicle displaced. One of them told local journalist he slept through the whole event. The petrol station itself is intact, and no pipes seem to have ruptured, no oil spilled, experts that have investigated the place have reported to the rescue services.

This map shows the area of the E6 near Stenungsund affected by the landslide (Infographic by Stenungsund Kommun)
This map shows the area of the E6 near Stenungsund affected by the landslide (Infographic by Stenungsund Kommun)

Geologists reported to the authorities that the danger of more landslides in the area is not over yet. Reason is that rain might have weakened the clay ground at more places in the area.

According to the police another factor might be at play: many explosives used and large scale excavations for expanding the industrial zone might have upset the ground. An investigation has started to get to the bottom of this, but the construction company told local journalists they did everything according to the rules and construction plan.

The construction license of the area allows 30,000 cubic metres of excavation material to stay within the area, at designated spots. Three questions investigators look into is: how much soil was taken from the ground and kept close by, was it kept at the right locations and did it impact the landslide?

Motorway E6 between Gothenburg in Sweden and Oslo in Norway is used daily by 8,000 to 12,000 motorists, the Swedish Traffic Authority (Trafikverket) reports. A spokesperson has said it can take up many months before the road is reopened.

Landslides like this are not uncommon at clay grounds in both Sweden and Norway, but at this scale at such an sensitive area is rare for Sweden. | © 2023 Marcel Burger, nordicreporter.com