Disasters & Accidents

Italy inaugurates new Genoa bridge two years after deadly disaster

(Update 1: adds information)

Rome, Aug 3 (efe-epa).- The Genoa Morandi bridge which collapsed two years ago killing 43 people was inaugurated Monday with a reopening ceremony that families of the victims refused to attend.

The highest Italian authorities, including Conte and the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, attended the inauguration in a somber ceremony out of respect for the will of the families of the 43 victims.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the tragedy caused sharp pain, “but this new bridge gives us an image of strength and lightness. This bridge is a result of the Italian genius.”

The President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, began his speech remembering the victims: “The responsibilities are not generic. They always have a name and a surname, they are always the result of actions or omissions,” he said.

“It is important that there is a strict and rigorous action to ascertain responsibilities”.

On 14 August 2018, a section of the A10 motorway bridge that crosses the city of Genoa collapsed in a fatal accident during a torrential rainstorm, hurling several vehicles onto the rail tracks beneath.

The disaster forced 600 people to abandon their homes located in the surrounding area and under the bridge, all of whom have relocated elsewhere.

The inauguration of the new structure designed by Renzo Piano paves the way towards economic recovery after the collapse caused significant commercial damage.

The motorway bridge was a busy route in Genoa connecting the port to the city but also a major artery of European route E80 that links Italy and France.

In a country where populations affected by the most recent major earthquakes, including L’Aquila in 2006 and Amatrice in 2016, are still waiting for authorities to rebuild their towns, the construction of the new bridge in less than two years has been dubbed “a miracle”.

“From a wound that remains difficult to heal the symbol of a new Italy that is rising. An important day, which tells the present and the future of a changing country,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on social media.

The construction of the new bridge, called Genoa San Giorgio Bridge, has been carried out by the PerGenova consortium made up of the Fincantieri shipbuilding group and Salini Impregilo infrastructure construction company.

Some 17,400 tons of steel have been used and up to 19 lifts have been installed for the build, including three bespoke ones to put sections measuring 100-meter each in place and hoist them over 40 meters high.

Roberto Carpaneto, CEO of RINA, the company in charge of managing both the demolition of the old bridge and the reconstruction of the new one, told Efe of the “pride” he felt having completed it in less than two years despite difficulties and amid a pandemic.

“The wounds are closed but there are scars and nobody is going to forget what has happened. For all the engineers and workers who have contributed to this work – and there have been 1,150 people – this has not been a normal project,” he said.

Carpaneto pointed out that the demolition and reconstruction of a new bridge in this time frame had only been possible because works have taken place around the clock seven days a week with a rest on only Christmas Day.

In these two years, he added, “the old bridge, which was made of around 180,000 tons of cement and was 50 meters high, while the pylons were 92 meters, has been removed, and then the construction of the new one started on 15 April 2019.”

He said that the Genoa Bridge is an example that “if you want to you can do things”, because “all communities and the public administration have been very effective”.

The engineer added that work has been done mainly thinking of the need to mitigate the economic vacuum left by the collapse of the Morandi viaduct.

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