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Bridge Falls, Kills 1, after Safety Warning

Thursday, November 3, 2016

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Italian authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the collapse of a highway bridge near Milan late last week that left one driver dead and injured 5 others.

An overpass in the province of Lecco fell Friday (Oct. 28) as as a truck carrying a very heavy load drove over it, collapsing the concrete deck onto traffic passing underneath it, several sources reported.

ANAS, the country’s road authority, directed blame toward to Lecco officials, claiming they were slow to close down the span after an employee identified problems with the structure earlier that day, according to a BBC report.

Heavy Load Crossed Bridge

Reports indicated the accident occurred at about 5:20 p.m. local time when an articulated truck carrying a specially authorized oversized load of steel coils weighing 108 tonnes crossed the bridge. When the bridge buckled, the truck and concrete structure fell onto the State Highway 36 roadway below.

Claudio Bertini, 68, died when his car was completely crushed under the fallen concrete, European English-language news network The Local reported.

At least four vehicles were directly involved in the incident, reports said, and four people were critically injured, including three children and the truck driver, ANAS said in a statement. The injured were transported to an area hospital.

As many as 10 other motorists were injured from the collapse or resulting crashes, some reports said. Considering that the incident occurred during rush hour, police noted they were fortunate there were no other fatalities.

CCTV footage capturing the incident is said to show other vehicles bouncing as the slab hits the lower roadway, The Mirror reported.

Procedural Holdup Blamed

As the authority responsible for the construction and maintenance of Italian motorways and state highways, ANAS claims to have demanded an immediate closure of the span at 2:00 p.m. as a safety precaution after a worker found areas where concrete was crumbling, according to various media reports.

However, the agency said Lecco officials wanted the information in writing before taking action, a procedure that is said to require a formal inspection of the site.

The bridge reportedly failed just a little more than three hours later, before an inspector could reach it, although one was en route, ANAS said in a statement.

Province officials deny this version of events, according to the BBC.

“ANAS's account of what happened does not accord with the information we have about what happened," Lecco authorities said in a statement.

However, Italy is reportedly infamous for a bureaucracy that involves forms to be filled out even for basic services, and, according to The Local, such red tape is said to be a barrier to investment and growth in the country,

A review of the accident has been ordered by the country’s minister of infrastructure, and a preliminary criminal investigation is said to be underway.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; concrete; Europe; Fatalities; Health & Safety; Infrastructure; North America; Safety; Transportation

Comment from Jim Johnson, (11/3/2016, 10:58 AM)

It sounds like the Minister of Infrastructure is the one who should be investigated, particularly if his form requirements is what caused the delay in closing the bridge.

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