Kiwi in Genoa: Collapsed bridge widely used

15 August, 2018, 09:50 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Rescuers work to recover injured people after the Morandi highway bridge collapsed in Genoa northern Italy

At least four people were pulled alive from vehicles under the bridge, ANSA reported. It called for a "Marshall Plan" to fix or replace tens of thousands of bridges and viaducts built in the 1950s and 1960s. The collapse appeared not to have killed anyone beneath the bridge, only people driving over it, the civil protection agency said.

Within hours of the disaster, the anti-establishment government that took office in June said the collapse showed Italy needed to spend more on its dilapidated infrastructure, ignoring European Union budget constraints if necessary.

The exact cause of the collapse was not yet clear, but transport minister Danilo Toninelli said the "immense tragedy" showed the dilapidated state of the country's infrastructure and a lack of vital maintenance, adding that "those responsible will have to pay". Updating and reinforcing the bridges would be more expensive than destroying and rebuilding them with technology that could last a century.

He told Sky TG24: "I was driving along the bridge, and at a certain point I saw the road in front of me collapse, and I went down with the auto".

The design of the elevated road had been criticised in the past.

Engineering experts called it a "tragedy waiting to happen".

"That bridge is wrong". I do not know when.

He did not say at the time that it was in danger of collapsing, but that it required continuous maintenance and would eventually have to be torn down and replaced.

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Other engineers said corrosion or weather conditions could have contributed.

In a 2016 interview posted online, Antonio Brencich, a professor specialising in reinforced concrete construction at the University of Genoa, said "this bridge is usually characterised as a masterpiece of engineering, but in reality it is a failure of engineering".

Mehdi Kashani, an associate professor in structural mechanics at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, said maintenance issues and pressure from "dynamic loads", such as traffic and wind, could have resulted in "fatigue damage in bridge components".

The company that operates and maintains the highway, along with many other roads in Italy, said in a statement Tuesday that "stabilization" work was ongoing at time of the collapse.

"You can see there are very big portions of the bridge (that collapsed)".

Italian President Sergio Mattarella said a "catastrophe" had hit Genoa and the whole of Italy, as attention turned to what might have caused the collapse and who might be ultimately responsible. However, the bidding process for a substantial safety project for the bridge, worth $22.7 million, was set to begin soon, he said.

Autostrade said it would work with investigators, and that it was already assessing how to rebuild the bridge.

The highway connecting France and the Italian Riviera is popular with tourists. The accident killed one person, injured dozens and blew apart a section of a raised eight-lane highway.

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