Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Morandi Warned of Special Corrosion Risks on Genoa Bridge

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Comment | More

The engineer who designed the Morandi Bridge, the span in Genoa, Italy, that collapsed last week, reportedly warned several decades ago that the bridge would need constant maintenance to remove the rust, as both sea air and pollution, especially from a nearby steel plant, were contributing to corrosion.

Engineer Riccardo Morandi wrote the report in 1979, 12 years after the bridge was officially inaugurated.

Bridge Collapse, Concerning Infrastructure

Late in the morning on Aug. 14, lightning struck the Morandi Bridge. At the time, 35-mile-per-hour winds were recorded with the thunderstorm moving through the area. A 200-meter (656-foot) section of the prestressed concrete span collapsed, creating a gulf between two sections of the bridge.

The cable-stayed concrete bridge, also known as the Polcevera Viaduct, completed in 1968, was designed by Italian civil engineer Riccardo Morandi. According to website Retrofutur, the bridge is characterized, as are other Morandi structures, by thin prestressed concrete girders and relatively few stays. Three A-shaped concrete pylons hold four prestressed stays apiece. The website has chronicled numerous projects over the years to reinforce the structure, including steel sheaths over the concrete pylons.

While experts believe that structural weakness contributed to the collapse, previous warnings about the condition of the bridge were issued years before disaster struck.

Officials from the Five Star Movement, which is part of Italy’s governing coalition, had opposed plans to replace the Morandi Bridge prior to the collapse, citing the idea that the project would likely fall into corruption. Danilo Toninelli, Italy’s transport minister and also a member of Five Star, announced after the incident that there would be a comprehensive review of the country’s infrastructure, and that repairs would be made, though it would be a long, expensive endeavor.

As it stands, there is no central authority to keep tabs on the conditions of bridges in Italy, but a push for a registry was started in 2001; though it does not exist yet, some progress has been made.

Moriandi Warning

Morandi penned his warning partially due to the perplexity of the degradation problem—the amount of corrosion that the bridge exhibited even early on wasn't seen on similar structures in different environmental circumstances. Morandi did stand by the design he chose for the span, but warned that possibly within a few years, “it will be necessary to resort to a treatment consisting of the removal of all traces of rust on the exposure of the reinforcements, to fill in the patches."

Morandi recommended an epoxy resin be used to shield the reinforcements, providing significant chemical resistance.

Preliminary Survey

Robert Ferrazza, head of the government team, said that the preliminary survey conducted after the collapse indicates a number of possible causes could be behind the failure—the span was found to be distorted—rather than a simple failure of a bridge support.

"We have to look at the positioning of the rubble, considering that there was a break that provoked an imbalanced movement of the structure," Ferrazza said.

Ferrazza reportedly knew of the corrosion affecting the bridge. In an early February meeting, experts recommended that the supports be reinforced, given the current trend of degradation. Bidding opened in April for the 20 million-euro ($23 million) contract to complete the work.

Editor's Note: Fixed misspelling.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; EU; Europe; Fatalities; Government; Health and safety; Infrastructure; Program/Project Management

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Axxiom Manufacturing

Tarps manufacturing, Inc.

KTA-Tator, Inc. - Corporate Office

HoldTight Solutions Inc.

Strand’s Industrial Coatings

EDCO - Equipment Development Co. Inc.


Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL

The Technology Publishing Network

PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us