Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Morandi Bridge Replacement Reaches Completion

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Comment | More

Recently, joint venture Pergenova, made up of construction and civil engineering business Salini Impregilo and shipbuilder Fincantieri, announced that the final span for the Morandi Bridge replacement project had been installed, marking the imminent completion of the new infrastructure.

“Since construction began, we have been working day and night. The only day the site closed was on Christmas Day,” site construction manager Stefano Mosconi told The Guardian only a few months back.

“It has been emotional for everyone to be working on a project that is so important, also because we share a sense of responsibility linked to building something that will replace something that is not there anymore, and which had very tragic consequences.”

Morandi Bridge Collapse

Late in the morning on Aug. 14, 2018, lightning struck the Morandi Bridge. At the time, 35-mile-per-hour winds were recorded with a thunderstorm moving through the area. A 200-meter (656-foot) section of the prestressed concrete span collapsed, killing 43 people and 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 the 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 held 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 and decaying steel rods contributed to the collapse, previous warnings about the condition of the bridge were issued years before disaster struck. For example, in 2012, the leader of Genoa's business federation noted that the bridge could collapse within 10 years. In 2011, a report from Autostrade per l'Italia, the operator of the A10 highway that ran over the bridge, warned of intense decay.

As for the legal case surrounding the disaster, 71 people were accused, ranging from managers to civil servants, involving more than 100 lawyers, 120 experts and 75 witnesses.

By November, officials announced that they had begun testing debris from the site as to help determine what caused the collapse. At the same time, Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci announced that the demolition of what remains of the Morandi Bridge would begin Dec. 15, 2019, which would make way for a new overpass over the city.

The following month, it was decided that Italian architect Renzo Piano would be overseeing the structure’s replacement, using his own design which featured 43 posts, each one honoring a victim of the collapse.

According to reports, the design involved having a 3,600-foot-long main steel deck running across 20 spans, supported by 18 elliptical reinforced concrete piers placed at 164-foot increments. The exception was a set of piers that would be set 328 feet apart to account for the Polcevera River. Solar energy stored during the day is slated to power the bridge’s lights and lamps at night, which will cast light shaped like a ship’s sails.

Steel elements for the project were provided by Fincantieri, from its Genoa-Sestri Ponente shipyard, with work being distributed to other shipyards, as necessary. The steel deck was assembled in parts onsite.

Additionally, to ensure the tragedy never repeats, the bridge has also been equipped with its own monitoring system and a fleet of robots which will monitor the hull, should any alarming structural changes occur.

The structure has been designed to last at least 100 years.

According to The New York Times, the Italian government decided to exclude Autostrade per l’Italia from the project. Construction on the project was slated to take 12 months, costing $229 million. A trial against Autostrade per l’Italia was also slated to start sometime in 2019.

In late June of last year, towers of the Morandi Bridge were demolished. According to the BBC, the two towers brought down amounted to around 4,500 tons of concrete and steel. Water tanks were also put around the tower bases to help prevent dust becoming an issue in the immediate area.

By February, officials announced that work on the bridge’s replacement had surpassed the halfway mark, with 16 of the 18 40-meter-high (131 feet) columns—which are partially sunk 50 meters into the ground—were constructed and seven out of 19 deck sections were laid into place.

Although Italy experienced a lockdown in March due to COVID-19, reports indicate that strict safety measures were enforced so that the project could continue. According to CNN, during this time, only one employee tested positive in late March, and has since returned to work along with colleagues who had been in contact with him and had underwent a quarantine period.

The strict safety procedures including daily temperature monitoring, daily contact tracing, hand sanitizer distribution and social distancing, among others, were coordinated by RINA Consulting, which was brought onto the project has a project manager for the replacement.

Throughout the course of the project, RINA reported that it had underwent approximately 600 audits dealing with technical, quality, safety and environmental aspects of both the demolition and reconstruction plans, was subject to 2,000 inspections at production plants and onsite, and generated 3,000 technical documents.

Bridge Opening

While the last span was installed at the very end of April, crews still have to lay down asphalt before the bridge can officially open back open to the public. It is it because of this reason, reports claim, that the structure doesn’t have a name yet.

However, Piano has suggested that the bridge be simply named, “Genova.”

Slated to open in July, the bridge plans to once again serve as a crucial route for commercial trade between Italy and France. According to mayor Bucci, who also served as commissioner for the project, said the bridge’s absence costs the city an estimated 6 million euros ($6.7 million) a day.

“The tragedy was a tragedy but straightaway we saw it as an opportunity to roll up our sleeves, work hard and make sure the city gets new momentum,” said Bucci. “This is why for us, the bridge is not only a bridge but a way to demonstrate to Italy and the world that good things can be done here.”


Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridge cables; Bridges; Bridges; EU; Europe; Fatalities; Government contracts; Health and safety; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Project Management

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.


HoldTight Solutions Inc.

KTA-Tator, Inc. - Corporate Office

Axxiom Manufacturing


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