Tag Archives: Genoa

Report: Experts knew Genoa bridge had weakened 20 percent

Report: Experts knew Genoa bridge had weakened 20 percentGENOA, Italy (AP) — Engineering experts determined in February that corrosion of the metal cables supporting the Genoa highway bridge had reduced the bridge's strength by 20 percent — a finding that came months before it collapsed last week, Italian media reported Monday.



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Genoa toll hits 43 as search for answers ramps up

Genoa toll hits 43 as search for answers ramps upThe toll of Genoa’s bridge collapse rose to 43 Sunday as rescuers confirmed they had found the remains believed to be of a missing family, a day after Italy held a funeral for the disaster victims. The findings mean that all those reported missing after Tuesday’s tragedy have now been accounted for, although rescuers said the would continue combing the wreckage. “The bodies of the final three missing people were found overnight,” Italy’s fire service said on Twitter Sunday.



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Italian government gives Genoa bridge company 15 days to prove it maintained collapsed structure

Italian government gives Genoa bridge company 15 days to prove it maintained collapsed structureThe Italian government has issued an ultimatum to the company in charge of the motorway bridge that collapsed with the loss of nearly 40 lives, giving it 15 days to demonstrate that it maintained the structure properly. The transport ministry demanded that Autostrade per l’Italia show that it had previously met all its contractual obligations to ensure the proper functioning of the Morandi bridge. Should the company’s response prove inadequate, the government will judge it to be in breach of the terms of its concession to run the toll-road. The lucrative concession would then be withdrawn from Autostrade, part of the holding company Atlantia, which is controlled by the Benetton fashion empire. The coalition government has adopted an aggressive stance towards the company, blaming it for the collapse of the bridge, which has so far claimed the lives of 38 people and injured 15 others, nine of them critically. The bridge gave way during an intense thunderstorm on Tuesday, plunging around 50 vehicles to the ground, where they were crushed by giant slabs of concrete and steel girders. Between 10 and 20 people are still missing. The transport ministry is demanding that the company commit to rebuilding the bridge at its own expense and within a set period of time. It also called on the company to pay to rebuild apartment blocks that will have to be demolished and to repair damaged buildings beneath the 51-year-old bridge. Matteo Salvini, the interior minister, said he expects Atlantia to donate up to €500 million to help families and local government  Credit:  PIERO CRUCIATTI/AFP Matteo Salvini, the interior minister, said he expects Atlantia to donate up to €500 million to help families and local government deal with the aftermath of the disaster. “I will listen to the directors of Autostrade per l’Italia but I expect to see concrete gestures (from the company) immediately,” Mr Salvini said. “Genoa cannot wait and the injured cannot wait. While the lawyers and the investigators do their job, we are doing all we can to obtain from Autostrade all that is possible for the relatives of victims, the injured, the people made homeless and the city of Genoa. “As for concessions and penalties, we can talk about those from next week onwards.” Luigi Di Maio, the head of the Five Star Movement and Mr Salvini’s partner in the populist coalition, said he was determined that the company’s right to manage the toll road would be revoked. “Not only will we use the law to revoke the concession, but we’ll also apply a fine of €150 million. If they want to fight it, we’ll see them in court,” he said. The Italian state might have to step in and run the motorway, along with others managed by Autostrade per l’Italia, he said.



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Fears over twin of collapsed Genoa bridge in Venezuela

Fears over twin of collapsed Genoa bridge in VenezuelaVenezuelans are concerned over the safety of a “twin” viaduct of the collapsed Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italy, after a fire on the concrete structure caused a major blackout. Designed by Italian structural engineer Riccardo Morandi, it predates by five years his 1967 bridge in Genoa that collapsed this week causing the death of 39 people.



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Atlantia to hold board meetings after Genoa bridge disaster: source

Atlantia to hold board meetings after Genoa bridge disaster: sourceItalian toll-road group Atlantia has called special board meetings next week to discuss the deadly collapse of a bridge it operates in Genoa, a source said on Friday. Autostrade per l’Italia, the Atlantia unit that manages the stretch of motorway in northern Italy where the bridge is located, is expected to hold a board meeting on Tuesday while the Benetton-backed parent company will hold its own meeting on Wednesday, the source said. A series of technical and legal issues will be presented to Atlantia and Autostrade board members next week, according to the source .



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The Death Toll From Italy's Genoa Bridge Collapse Is at Least 38

The Death Toll From Italy's Genoa Bridge Collapse Is at Least 38Many in the city had said the 1967 bridge needed shoring up



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Genoa collapse: Hundreds more bridges 'at risk' across Italy as ministers blast highways firm

Genoa collapse: Hundreds more bridges 'at risk' across Italy as ministers blast highways firmUp to 300 bridges, viaducts and tunnels in Italy are at risk of structural failure, experts warned, as the death toll from the collapse of a bridge in Genoa rose to 39, including three children. There were fears that the number of fatalities could rise further. Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister, said it was hard to tell how many people were still unaccounted for simply because they were on holiday or “under the rubble”. He said the tragedy demonstrated the importance of increasing investments and hinted that EU spending limits could put lives at risk. "If external constraints prevent us from spending to have safe roads and schools, then it really calls into question whether it makes sense to follow these rules," Mr Salvini, who leads the eurosceptic League party, said. "There can be no trade-off between fiscal rules and the safety of Italians." The European Union pushed back against suggestions EU budget rules might be to blame.  "We will not engage in any political finger pointing," the European Commission, the EU's executive in Brussels, said. The commission in Brussels said Italy was receiving billions of euros under the bloc's multi-annual budget for infrastructure investment and was "one of the main beneficiaries of the flexibility" under the 28-nation bloc's fiscal rules. British couple Genoa bridge collapse Around 70 per cent of Italy’s 15,000 motorway bridges and tunnels are more than 40 years old, many of them built during the post-war boom but now carrying far more traffic than they were designed for. Lack of investment, poor maintenance and, in some cases, the involvement of mafia-run building companies that use poor quality concrete to increase profits, could all contribute to disasters like the one in Genoa. “They have problems that, if not addressed in time, could potentially lead to structural failures,” a leading structural engineer told La Repubblica newspaper. “The problem is not so much knowing which structures are at risk, but having the money to finance repairs and maintenance,” said the expert, who asked for anonymity because he works for a company that assesses public infrastructure. Among the structures at risk was the Magliana Bridge in Rome, between the city centre and the capital’s busiest airport, Fiumicino, he said. Italy’s CNR civil engineering society said that many structures dating from the 1960s, when the Morandi Bridge was built, had surpassed their lifespan. It called for a “Marshall Plan" to repair or replace tens of thousands of Italian bridges and viaducts built in the post-war period. As investigators began to study what may have caused a 260ft-long portion of the raised motorway in Genoa to collapse, sending around 35 cars and several trucks plummeting to the ground, Italy’s populist government blamed the private company that managed it. Luigi Di Maio, deputy prime minister and the leader of the Five Star Movement, accused Autostrade per l’Italia of chasing profits at the expense of public safety. “Instead of investing money for maintenance, they divide the profits and that is why the bridge falls," he said. Autostrade, which operates nearly 2,000 miles of Italian motorways, is controlled by the Benetton group through its holding company, Atlantia. Mr Di Maio accused previous Italian governments of turning a blind eye to the upkeep of the country’s motorways because of political contributions. Fire crews told The Telegraph 'we are not going to stop searching' “For the first time there is a government that does not take money from Benetton. Autostrade was protected by previous governments,” he said. “If the bridge was dangerous, then they should have closed it.” The government said it wanted to revoke the contract awarded to Autostrade and hit the company with a massive fine of 150 million euros. "The first thing that should happen is that the heads of Autostrade per l'Italia should step down. And given that there have been breaches (of contract), I announce that we have begun the process for the eventual revocation of their contract and a fine of 150 million euros,” transport minister Danilo Toninelli said on Facebook. Autostrade insisted the bridge had been “constantly monitored” and refuted accusations that it had not invested enough in maintenance. "In the last five years the company's investment in the security, maintenance and strengthening of the network has been over one billion euros a year," it said. Cars and trucks are left on a section of the collapsed Morandi highway bridge in Genoa Credit: Nicola Marfisi/AP As the coalition, which consists of Five Star and the hard-Right League party, called for heads to roll, it emerged that in 2013 the founder of Five Star had opposed plans to build a new motorway that would have alleviated pressure on the Morandi bridge. Beppe Grillo, the founder of Five Star, dismissed warnings that the bridge could collapse as “a fairy tale” on his widely-read blog. When the plans for the new motorway were blocked, one leading industrialist predicted that the Genoa bridge would fail. “When, in 10 years’ time, the Morandi bridge collapses, and everyone is stuck in traffic jams for hours, we’ll need to remember the names of those who said no (to the project),” said Giovanni Calvini, who was then regional president of Confindustria, an employers’ association. Rescue personnel use cranes to sort through debris from the Morandi motorway bridge Credit: VALERY HACHE/ AFP Arcangelo Merella, a former member of Genoa city council with responsibility for transport, said: “I was saying that the bridge was at risk, that it was no longer adequate and that there was the need to find an alternative because the traffic was becoming heavier all the time.” As Genoa’s mayor declared two days of mourning, there was anger among locals over the fact that repeated warnings about the safety of the bridge went unheeded. Several locals told The Telegraph that the structure shook noticeably when trucks rolled across it and many residents worried about crossing over and under it. The bridge had to withstand more than 25 million vehicle crossings a year, with traffic volumes quadrupling in the last 30 years. A truck is perched on the remaining section of the collapsed Morandi bridge Credit:  STEFANO RELLANDINI/ REUTERS The number of vehicles using the bridge was expected to grow by 30 per cent over the next 30 years. An engineering report released in 2009 studied the possibility of the bridge being demolished because of concerns over its structural integrity. “The city is sad and of course the mourning comes first, but the city is also angry, because for years we have talked about substituting this bridge and it was never done,” said Paolo Maggio, a 46-year-old taxi driver. “This will be a huge hit for the economy – it will impact cargo traffic to and from the airport, the ports, to France. For months, Genoa will be cut in half.” Andrea Rescin, one of the first local residents to call the emergency services after the bridge crashed to the ground, said: “It sounded like a bomb had gone off, the first thing I thought was that it was an explosion.” Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister, declared a state of emergency for Genoa, one of the country’s busiest ports, whose main land corridor with France has now effectively been severed. He also announced five million euros of funds going into recovery work.



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Genoa bridge collapse: what we know

Genoa bridge collapse: what we knowNearly 40 people died on Tuesday when a giant motorway bridge collapsed in Genoa in northwestern Italy, with the death toll expected to mount further. The Morandi viaduct, a massive concrete structure less than five kilometres (three miles) to the west of Genoa’s old port, was completed in 1967 and acts as the flyover of the A10 motorway. Named after the architect who designed it, the bridge spanned railway lines, factory buildings and the Polcevera stream around 45 metres (over 150 feet) below.



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Why did the Genoa bridge collapse – and how thousands of other structures in Italy are at risk

Why did the Genoa bridge collapse - and how thousands of other structures in Italy are at riskItalian prosecutors are opening an investigation into the Genoa bridge collapse, as questions swirled over what caused the structure to crumble.  At least 38 people died when a 650-foot portion of the Morandi motorway bridge in northern Italy disintegrated on Tuesday. The 51-year-old structure, designed by celebrated Italian engineer Riccardo Morandi, has been beset with problems since its construction in the 1960s, leading to expensive maintenance and drawing fierce criticism from engineering experts. Possible mafia connections have been raised. Dave Parker, Technical Editor Emeritus of New Civil Engineer told Radio 4's Today programme that the quality of the materials could have been affected by mafia involvement in the construction industry.  "According to urban myths, the mafia had a very big finger in the pie of the concrete industry back then, charging full price and putting less cement in," he said.  Genoa motorway bridge collapses Concerns have also been raised about the integrity of other structures built following the Second World War, with one engineering body saying tens of thousands of bridges and viaducts in Italy could be at risk. Giuseppe Conte, the Prime Minister, said "all infrastructure" across the country needed to be double-checked. "We must not allow another tragedy like this to happen again," he added. Danilo Toninelli, the Transport Minister,  said the collapse was "unacceptable" and that if negligence played a role "whoever made a mistake must pay." Built between 1963 and 1967, the bridge had a maximum span of 718 feet, a total length of 0.7 miles, and concrete piers – vertical structures buttressing the arches of a bridge – that reach 295 feet in height. 'Structural doubts' over design The technology of pre-stressed reinforced concrete used in the construction was the hallmark of its designer, Mr Morandi, who died in 1989. Dubbed patent "Morandi M5", he had used the technology for other works, including a wing of the Verona Arena in 1953. This technique also characterises another, even longer and just as problematic Morandi bridge: the 5.4 mile long General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge that spans the bay of Maracaibo, Venezuela, and was completed in 1962. It partially collapsed in 1964 after being hit by an oil tanker and was rebuilt.  The Morandi bridge in Genoa had always presented "structural doubts", according to an article published by specialist engineering website "Ingegneri.info", which called it "a tragedy waiting to happen". Antonio Brencich, a professor of reinforced concrete construction at the University of Genoa, echoed those concerns.  "It was affected by extremely serious corrosion problems linked to the technology that was used (in construction). Morandi wanted to use a technology that he had patented that was no longer used afterwards and that showed itself to be a failure," Professor Brencich told Radio Capitale. Professor Brencich has long been a critic of the bridge. Two years ago, he told "Ingegneri.info" that the bridge's construction went over budget and poor calculations over concrete viscosity led to an uneven road surface which wasn’t fully corrected until the 1980s. Safety work had been commissioned Mr Toninelli said the company that has the concession to operate that section of highway said its maintenance on the bridge was up to date and no work was being done at the time of the collapse. But he added that they were about to launch a 20 million euro (£17.8 million) bidding process for significant safety work on the bridge. "There has not been sufficient maintenance and checks, and safety work for many bridges and viaducts and bridges in Italy constructed – almost all – during the 1960s," he said. The tender provided for a strengthening of the bridge’s pier cables, including those of pier nine, the one that collapsed on Tuesday. Notwithstanding the importance of a road that sees 25 million vehicles pass along it every year, the demolition of the bridge was being studied as far back as 2009. Bridges such as the Morandi viaduct should have a lifespan of at least a century, "Ingegneri.info" reported, but the structure had been the subject of major maintenance work in the years after its completion, in particular to repair cracks and combat degradation of the concrete. In the early 2000s the suspension cables put in place in the 1980s and 1990s were replaced. "Fifty years ago, we had unlimited confidence in reinforced concrete, we thought it was eternal, but now we know that it only lasted a few decades," Diego Zoppi, former president of the Genoa branch of the order of architects, told reporters on Tuesday. Rescue teams work among the rubble of the collapsed Morando highway bridge in Genoa Credit: AP Mr Zoppi warned that it was impossible to say similar tragedies would not happen again without serious work on infrastructure built after the Second World War. "The Italy built in the 1950s and 1960s is in urgent need of renovation. The risk of collapses is underestimated, the works built at that time are coming to an age when they are at risk." 'Tens of thousands need to be replaced' The Italian CNR civil engineering society said structures as old as the Morandi Bridge had exceeded their lifespan. It called for a "Marshall Plan" to repair or replace tens of thousands of bridges and viaducts built in the 1950s and 1960s. Updating and reinforcing the bridges would be more expensive than destroying and rebuilding them with technology that could last a century. They cited previous accidents: a bridge that fell in April 2017 in the northern province of Cuneo, crushing a carabinieri police car after the officers and driver had barely managed to get away in time; and an overpass that in the northern city of Lecco that collapsed under exceptional weight, crushing a car and killing the driver. A truck is seen at the collapsed Morandi Bridge site in the port city of Genoa, Italy  Credit: Reuters Experts also said it was possible the thunderstorm could have contributed to the collapse after witnesses said it was struck by lightning shortly before it crumbled. "As this reinforced and pre-stressed concrete bridge has been there for 50 years it is possible that corrosion of tendons or reinforcement may be a contributory factor," said Ian Firth, former president of The Institution of Structural Engineers. He called the bridge "an unusual design." "The fact that there was reported to be a storm at the time may or may not be particularly relevant.” Mehdi Kashani, an associate professor in structural mechanics at the University of Southampton, said maintenance issues and pressure from "dynamic loads," such as traffic and wind, could have resulted in "fatigue damage in bridge components."



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Young couple and their seven-year-old son named among 38 killed in Genoa bridge collapse

Young couple and their seven-year-old son named among 38 killed in Genoa bridge collapseA young Italian couple and their seven-year-old son are among the 38 or more victims of the catastrophic Genoa bridge collapse. Roberto Robbiano, his wife Ersilia Piccinino and their son Samuele all died when their car plummeted 150ft to the ground after a 260ft section of the Morandi bridge suddenly disintegrated in a thunderstorm on Tuesday. The family was heading to lunch with grandparents when the bridge, which spans a broad valley of apartment blocks, warehouses and railway lines, collapsed. Firefighters found Samuele’s favourite football, decorated with images of Spiderman, inside the smashed remains of their car, Italian media reported. Two employees of a waste management company, who were working in the valley beneath the bridge when it collapsed, were also killed. They were named as Bruno Casagrande, 57, and Mirco Vinci, 30. They were doing shift work in place of regular workers who had gone away on their summer holidays. “They had only just started their contracts,” said Tiziana Merlino, the director of the waste management company AMIU. With Genoa and the surrounding Liguria region in shock, the mayor of the port city declared two days of mourning, starting today. Andrea Cerulli, 48, an avid fan of the local football team, was also killed in the tragedy. His girlfriend and son had gone on holiday but he had stayed behind in Genoa to work. He was killed as he drove to work. Three children were among the dead, according to the Italian media. Among them was an unnamed boy from Florence in Tuscany. Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence, offered his condolences to the boy’s family but did not say if any of his relatives were among the victims.



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