Final section of new Genoa bridge slots into place two years after 43 were killed when it collapsed


A final section of the new Genoa bridge was slotted into place on Tuesday, two years after 43 people were killed when a colossal stretch of the highway collapsed.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stood beneath the gleaming structure and took solace in its completion amid the coronavirus pandemic which has wiped out nearly 27,000 of his people.

‘This cannot be a day of celebration. But today a new light shines on Italy,’ Conte said as flags fluttered around him. The new bridge ‘symbolises the whole of Italy. An Italy that can rise up again, that will roll up its sleeves, that will not allow itself to be beaten,’ he added.  

A siren sounded as the last vast section of deck was put in place and one side of Liguria’s Polcevera valley was finally reconnected with the other, and ships in Genoa’s port sounded their horns in reply. 

A final section of a new bridge in Genoa, built after a deadly 2018 motorway collapse, was slotted into place Tuesday, providing a much-needed symbol of renewal for coronavirus-hit Italy (pictured: the bridge is lit up in the colours of the Italian flag)

Genoa's Morandi highway collapsed during heavy rain on August 14, 2018, hurling dozens of cars and several trucks onto railway tracks below.

Genoa’s Morandi highway collapsed during heavy rain on August 14, 2018, hurling dozens of cars and several trucks onto railway tracks below.

The maritime city’s Morandi highway collapsed during heavy rain on August 14, 2018, hurling dozens of cars and several trucks onto railway tracks below.

The bridge had been riddled with structural problems for decades, leading to expensive maintenance, and its collapse threw the spotlight on Italy’s creaking infrastructure. 

Italian architect Renzo Piano designed the replacement, giving it a curved, gleaming underbelly evoking the hull of a ship in tribute to Genoa’s maritime history.

The high-tech structure will have maintenance robots running along its length to spot weathering or erosion, as well as a special dehumidification system to limit corrosion.

‘In building the bridge we’ve been up against time, against the elements, against bad weather, against all the difficulties we’ve faced,’ Pietro Salini, CEO of Italy’s biggest builder Salini Impregilo, told journalists last week.

The new bridge of Genova light up with the Italian flag colours on April 28, 2020 in Genoa, Italy. The new bridge substitutes the Morandi bridge which fell on August 14, 2018 killing 43 people

The new bridge of Genova light up with the Italian flag colours on April 28, 2020 in Genoa, Italy. The new bridge substitutes the Morandi bridge which fell on August 14, 2018 killing 43 people

The maritime city's Morandi highway collapsed during heavy rain on August 14, 2018, hurling dozens of cars and several trucks onto railway tracks below.

The maritime city’s Morandi highway collapsed during heavy rain on August 14, 2018, hurling dozens of cars and several trucks onto railway tracks below.

The final section of Genoa's new bridge is installed into place, completing the rebuilding of the structure almost two years after the Morandi bridge collapsed killing 43 people in Genoa, Italy, April 28, 2020

The final section of Genoa’s new bridge is installed into place, completing the rebuilding of the structure almost two years after the Morandi bridge collapsed killing 43 people in Genoa, Italy, April 28, 2020

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte greets Liguria Region President Giovanni Toti wearing a protective face mask as he arrives for the inauguration ceremony of the last part of the deck of the new Genoa motorway bridge

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte greets Liguria Region President Giovanni Toti wearing a protective face mask as he arrives for the inauguration ceremony of the last part of the deck of the new Genoa motorway bridge

‘While the rest of the country was wondering how to shut down (as Italy went into lockdown in early March), here the question was how to go on,’ said Salini, whose company is rebuilding the bridge with shipbuilder Fincantieri.

Completion work for the new structure measuring about a kilometre (half a mile) will include tarmacking and the installation of transparent wind barriers and solar panels. Stringent road tests will follow.

‘We hope to have the first traffic cross the bridge by the end of July,’ Salini said.

Architect Piano, a Genoa native whose building designs include the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and The Shard in London, said the celebrations would be muted out of respect for the victims and their families.

Completion work for the new structure measuring about a kilometre (half a mile) will include tarmacking and the installation of transparent wind barriers and solar panels. Stringent road tests will follow

Completion work for the new structure measuring about a kilometre (half a mile) will include tarmacking and the installation of transparent wind barriers and solar panels. Stringent road tests will follow

Architect Piano, a Genoa native whose building designs include the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and The Shard in London, said the celebrations would be muted out of respect for the victims and their families

Architect Piano, a Genoa native whose building designs include the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and The Shard in London, said the celebrations would be muted out of respect for the victims and their families

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Paola De Micheli wearing a protective face mask arrive for the inauguration ceremony of the last part of the deck of the new Genoa motorway bridge in Genoa

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Paola De Micheli wearing a protective face mask arrive for the inauguration ceremony of the last part of the deck of the new Genoa motorway bridge in Genoa

Autostrade, which runs almost half of Italy’s motorway network, has been accused of failing to maintain the bridge amid allegations of falsified safety reports and in-house pressure to slash maintenance costs.

Atlantia, the parent group of Autostrade, is controlled by the powerful Benetton family.

Autostrade is under judicial investigation, along with several transport ministry officials, for culpable homicide.

A total of 74 people are accused in the legal case, which has seen investigators use a super computer to trawl through thousands of documents and files seized from Autostrade offices and the transport ministry.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte wearing a protective face mask attends the inauguration ceremony

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte wearing a protective face mask attends the inauguration ceremony

Workers adjust a Genoese flag as the final section of Genoa's new bridge is installed into place, completing the rebuilding of the structure almost two years after the Morandi bridge collapsed killing 43 people

Workers adjust a Genoese flag as the final section of Genoa’s new bridge is installed into place, completing the rebuilding of the structure almost two years after the Morandi bridge collapsed killing 43 people

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