In mid-August 2018, Morandi Bridge, a structure located in an industrial area of Genoa that was erected in the 1960s, gave way, sending vehicles and rubble on the streets below. The tragic incident that caused 43 casualties and left 600 people homeless became a symbol of Italy's deteriorating infrastructure.
The causes of the structural failure have still not been fully understood but, corrosion and some construction faults have contributed to the collapse. The structure was finally demolished in July 2019, making room for the new facility, which was conceived as a symbol to restore hope and reliability of the country's infrastructure. “Genoa is a model for Italy. And it teaches us that the greatest act of love is when we commit to restarting together. Genoa radiates a light that gives hope to the whole of Italy,” Giuseppe Conte, the Italian prime minister, stated.
Besides the replacement's symbolic nature, the Morandi Bridge also served as a major connection on the A10 motorway which links Genoa with the nearby airport and it's also part of the E80 European highway that connects Italy with France. Therefore, the construction of a new facility was critical.
The final section of the bridge's span was installed on April 27, 2020. A layer of asphalt will be paved and the facility will open in summer 2020.
Both the demolition and the construction of the new bridge were achieved in record time. “Since construction began, we have been working day and night. The only day the site closed was on Christmas Day. 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,” Stefano Mosconi, the site construction manager, stated in late February. The final construction phases were conducted during the COVID-19 outburst that massively affected Italy.
The structure stretches for about 1000 meters and is elevated 45 meters above the ground. The bridge was designed by Renzo Piano, an architect born in Genoa who also designed the fabled Shard, the 87-story skyscraper in London. Its shape resembles a floating ship and it symbolizes the history of shipbuilding in Genoa.
Lights and special sensors will be powered by solar panels installed in the bridge while maintenance missions will be conducted by robotic devices in order to prevent any structural deterioration issues.
The total cost of the facility reached $216 million.