When the highway overpass was completed in 1967, it was considered innovative for its use of concrete around its cables.However, traffic levels on it were higher than its designers had envisioned. One expert in such construction, Antonio Brencich at the University of Genoa, had previously called the bridge “a failure of engineering.”> “So many people that lived here lost their lives, children. ‘Why children, why not me?’ This is the thought I have.”
The Italian CNR civil engineering society said structures dating from 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 1950s and 1960s. It said that simply updating or reinforcing the bridges would be more expensive than destroying and rebuilding them with new technology.Mehdi Kashani, an associate professor in structural mechanics at the University of Southampton in the U.K., said pressure from “dynamic loads,” such as heavy traffic or strong winds, could have resulted in “fatigue damage” in the bridge’s parts.Work to shore up its foundation was being carried out at the time of the collapse, but the toll highway’s operator Autostrade per L’Italia said it was constantly being monitored.Toninelli, the transport minister, suggested Autostrade would have to contribute to the cost of its reconstruction as well as pay heavy fines.
But Autostrade said it had done regular, sophisticated checks on the structure before the disaster, relying on “companies and institutions which are world leaders in testing and inspections” and that these had provided reassuring results.Silvia Vieri, who was on the bridge in a car with her boyfriend when the span collapsed in front of them, told NBC News that she believes the government is at fault for not investing in the upkeep of infrastructure.”They spend money on themselves, but not for the community,” she said Wednesday.Vieri said her boyfriend, who is a firefighter, managed to pull three people from the rubble while they waited for help to arrive.
“So many people that lived here lost their lives, children,” Vieri said. “”Why children, why not me?’ This is the thought I have.”The bridge is part of a major route running through the Italian Riviera to France’s southern coast.At least three of those killed were French nationals, according to the country’s foreign ministry.Lucy Kafanov reported from Genoa, Claudio Lavanga from Rome, Linda Givetash from London, and Nancy Ing from Paris.
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