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Italy bridge collapse kills at least 35, with 3 missing

Posted August. 16, 2018 07:37,   

Updated August. 16, 2018 07:37


Andrea Montefusco, a researcher of architectural engineering at Luiss University who was born in Genoa, was devastated on Tuesday by the news of the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in his hometown. Built 50 years ago, it was a cable-stayed bridge, with a total length of 1.18 kilometers. Calling it Genoa's "Brooklyn Bridge," local people took pride in the bridge. Brooklyn Bridge, which was opened in 1883, is a bridge linking New York’s Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Just half a century after its opening, the Morandi Bridge has pushed Genoa into a disaster. An 80-meter section of the bridge collapsed at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, killing at least 35 people. About three more are presumed missing. A spokesman for the Genoa police said that it there could be more casualties.

Built on the A10 motorway linking Milan and France, the bridge had huge traffic due to its location at an intersection connecting northern Italian cities and beaches in Liguria. Particularly, traffic was even heavier than usual as the disaster occurred on the eve of the Italian summer holiday of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Local police started investigation into the cause of the disaster. While torrential rain and strong winds were considered some of the causes of the disaster, police focus on the possibility of structural flaws or lax management of the facility.

There are circumstances indicating that there were warnings about the danger of the bridge before the incident. The bridge underwent a reinforcement work in 2016. At that time, Antonio Brencich, associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Genoa, warned that the bridge was a “structural failure,” arguing that rebuilding it would be more cost-effective. In 2011, Italian roadway company Autostrade also called for continued maintenance, as too much traffic was causing erosion every day.

Jung-Min Dong ditto@donga.com