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Potato spill on Danish bridge causes traffic, authorities investigating whether spill was accidental

A 57-year-old truck driver was detained Thursday after loads of potatoes were found spilled on a key bridge linking two Danish islands, police have said. The driver was held on suspicion of causing reckless endangerment to life.

A first spill was reported on the westbound side of the Storebaelt bridge at 6.35 a.m., police spokesman Kenneth Taanquist said. The bridge connects the island where the capital, Copenhagen, is located to the rest of Denmark.

A similar incident happened on the eastbound side a short time later, Tanquist added.

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“It looks weird,” he said. “We are working on two hypotheses: it is either an accident or it is something that has been done deliberately.”

Denmark potato bridge

Potatoes are seen scattered across the carriageway on the western part of the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark, on June 1, 2023.  (presse-fotos.dk/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

Police said the roads had become slippery and urged drivers to drive slowly. According to the Danish Road Directorate, lines of vehicles were reported on either side of the roughly 11 .2 miles bridge and tunnel link between the islands of Funen, where Odense — Denmark’s third largest city — is located, and Zealand, where Copenhagen sits.

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A third incident of potatoes on the road was reported near the town of Kolding on the Jutland peninsula. Kolding is near the Storebaelt bridge.

Danish public broadcaster DR noted that the potato spills occurred on the same day as the Danish parliament passed a law to tax diesel trucks transporting heavy loads.

The new measure has drawn protests from truck drivers. In recent weeks, they peacefully blocked highways and main roads throughout the country, claiming the tax will make their livelihoods unsustainable. A majority in the Danish parliament argue it is vital as the continued use of gas and diesel-fueled trucks is environmentally unsustainable.

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As of 2025, the drivers of gas and diesel-fueled vehicles over 7, 716 pounds will be taxed $0.19 per half a mile.

Torben Dyhl Hjorth, a spokesman for the protesting truckers, said on Facebook that they “strongly distance themselves from today’s ‘stunts’.” He added that they plan protest at a later stage which “can be felt but without risk to people’s lives and well-being.”

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