What caused the deadly bridge collapse in Genoa?

After having seen the horrific videos of the collapse of the Morandi bridge in Genoa it had us wondering if such a tragic event could happen here in Alcoy.

Known as the “City of Bridges” it seems that no matter where you go in Alcoy you are either going to drive or walk over a bridge.

According to one of the engineers who helped build the Morandi bridge a major flaw in the supporting piles could not support the amount of traffic that was crossing the bridge on a daily basis.

Saverio Ferrari blamed the collapse of the Genoa Bridge on the original building team who did not to build the supporting piles with anti-seismic materials.

Mr Ferrari, who worked as an engineer for the company that built the Genoa Bridge, argued the flaw in the structure and the failure of city authorities to redirect heavy traffic to alternative routes were the main reasons behind the deadly failure.

Speaking to Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, the retired engineer said: “I worked with the Condotte company. Everything always collapsed when the failed company was involved.

“When the structure was put up, the supporting piles were not made to sustain earthquakes.”

He explained the trials to ensure the support capacity of the piles had been rushed and that the Genoa Bridge already showcased major issues less than two years after its inauguration.

Mr Ferrari continued: “Mr Morandi got mad at the engineer in charge, he said ‘it needs to have a specific weight base to hold up.’ The piles were not anti-seismic.

“When the carrying capacity is not calculated you need to test the foundations to ensure they are capable of handling the weight. The test was done over five days. The chemical reaction of concrete cannot be completed within five days, yet they kept on building.

“In 1969 I stopped near the centre of the central span of the bridge and the oscillation of the structure from right to left was off by seven or eight centesimal.”

He added: “They did not learn how to redirect the heavier traffic from the 1980s onwards. That’s why the bridge gave out.”

The death toll from the collapse now stands at 43 with dozens injured and while politicians start to play the blame game let’s hope that this tragedy will have our engineers out checking the safety of all the bridges in Alcoy.

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