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Motorway bridge in Genoa collapsed: information and background

Bridge collapse in Genoa
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T parts of the bridge also damaged eleven houses, all of which are being demolished have to. The houses were evacuated shortly after the accident. Rescue measures with detection dogs and heavy rescue equipment were immediately initiated with hundreds of emergency services, which lasted for several days. The residents of the houses are also currently not allowed to fetch any personal items.

The victims:

According to official information, 43 people including three minors aged eight, twelve and 13 are killed in the accident Years ago. 13 foreigners - four French, three Chileans, two Albanians and two Romanians as well as one Colombian and one Peruvian are among the fatalities. Several people are currently still being treated in hospitals - four of them are in critical condition. 634 residents of houses and apartments in the collapse area are homeless. All new apartments should be allocated by the end of September 2018 at the latest.

More than 30 vehicles have crashed, including 3 trucks. The picture of the green-blue truck that stopped directly on the precipice when it collapsed is over the world has gone. The 27-year-old driver Luigi was even able to reverse a few meters and then escaped from his vehicle. There are a few other vehicles on the remains of the bridge that were not towed because of the prosecutor's investigation. The engine and windshield wipers of the green-blue truck continued to run for a while.

The operator:

Autostrade per l´Italia operates 3,100 kilometers of motorways in Italy with 262 toll booths. The company is 88.06 percent owned by the listed infrastructure group Atlantia. The largest shareholder with 30 percent is the Luxembourg Sinfonia, which is controlled by the Benetton family.

After the collapse, Autostrade per l´Italia had promised 500 million euros in emergency aid for the bereaved and the people who had to leave their houses and apartments at the scene of the accident. The right-wing populist government of Italy rejects the 'alms' and announced a further 28.5 million euros in aid to the already promised 5 million.

Costs and maintenance:

The construction of the bridge cost 3.5 billion Italian lira back then, thatare just under two million euros today. From 1992 to 1994 the steel cables, some of which were heavily rusted, were replaced. At the end of the 1990s, the maintenance costs were already 80 percent of the construction costs. The operator Autostrade per l'Italia put the renovation of the viaduct to tender in March 2018 - for a total of 20 million euros. The tender ended in July. A new building was obviously never an option, because according to a calculation by Autostrade per l´Italia from 2009, the demolition of the bridge alone would have taken almost a year. On the day of the collapse, the pavement girders were renovated towards the east - at the level of the collapsed pylon. In 2017, the work towards the west was completed. After the collapse, Autostrade per l'Italia stated that the bridge had been properly maintained. 'We don't think that the prerequisites exist to take responsibility for an event, the cause of which has yet to be determined,' said General Manager Castellucci.

Criticism of the construction:

Die Bridge was constructed by Riccardo Morandi (1902 to 1989). After his Patenet (Monrandi M5), similar bridges were built in Venezuela and Libya. As early as 1979 Morandi himself warned of the dangers of corrosion. The Italian television broadcaster RAI reports from a report by Morandi: Sea air and exhaust gases from a nearby steelworks have led to a “known loss of the chemical surface resistance of the concrete”. The construction of the bridge is reliable, Morandi wrote, but 'sooner or later, perhaps in a few years, it will be necessary to apply a treatment that consists of removing all traces of rust'.

The steel cables of the inclined tensioning system are sheathed with concrete - this sheath does not provide sufficient protection against rust as concrete cannot absorb tensile forces and tears. In addition, experts criticize Morandi for not having sufficiently taken into account the “creep” of the concrete in the construction. This property of concrete occurs with strong and permanent pressure loads and is an important parameter in the construction with prestressed concrete.

In May 2016 Antonio Brencich, professor at the University of Genoa and expert on reinforced concrete, gave an interview with after the station Primocanale with criticism. 'No wonder, the Morandi Bridge is a failure of engineering'.

The importance of the bridge

The Morandi Bridge, with its four lanes, is part of the A10 motorway that connects the West and east connects. It is considered the lifeline of Italy's sixth largest city with around 590,000 inhabitants, also because it established the motorway connection to Italy's largest port. Around 1,000 trucks drove over the bridge every day.

Bridge facts:

Polcevera Viaduct or Morandi Bridge
Built between 1962 and 1967
Opening on September 4th, 1967
Cable-stayed bridge
length 558 m (221m /220m /126 m)
Height: Three pylons of 90 meters each
max. Height of road: approx. 40 meters


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