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Famous Italian bridge collapses, leaving 42 people dead

Nick Arrietta, Staff Writer

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On Tuesday, August 14, tragedy struck the city of Genoa, Italy, when a 300-foot section of the Morandi Bridge collapsed, leaving 43 people dead and landing on top of two factories 150 feet below it.  Although there are many leads, government officials are still trying to figure out the exact cause of the collapse. The Italian government has also accused the company that runs the bridge, Autostrade, for this tragedy.   

According to Autostrade.com, in addition to building the Morandi Bridge, the company is also in charge of the construction and management of toll highways in Italy. The company is now under attack by government officials, who have accused the company of negligence with regard to the bridge’s upkeep.  

There has been speculation about why the bridge collapsed. Government officials believe this happened because of the neglect from the city and the company that runs the bridge. The New York Times stated, “In Genoa, there was apparently no lack of concern about the bridge design and potential flaws that could lead to disaster.”

Some note that the bridge had a design flaw. There are only four tendons supporting the bridge. In contrast, in 2018, any new bridge must have ten. This type of bridge, a cable-stayed bridge, according to Engineering.com relies on maintaining perfect balance. 

According to a recent BBC article, in 2016, structural engineer Antonio Brenich wrote, “there are errors in this bridge. Sooner or later, it will have to be replaced. I don’t know when.” There was construction happening to the bridge when it collapsed, which could be a factor that led to the incident, but many in Italy believe the repairs began too late.

Allegedly, overtime there was too much weight on the bridge; 25 million cars drive on the bridge each year. The New York Times noted, “traffic loads were far greater than when the structure opened in 1967.”

Notably, when bridges were built in 1967, inferior materials such as reinforced concrete were used.

Even though this tragedy killed 42 people, there have been many survivors. More than 600 people have been evacuated who lived under the bridge.  Rescue teams were also able to find survivors under the rubble from the bridge. The survivors were taken to a local hospital by helicopter. According to BBC.com, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte aollocated 5 million dollars for the search and rescue efforts.   

After this horrible incident, more companies and cities have been prompted to ensure their bridges and buildings are safe and sturdy.  

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Famous Italian bridge collapses, leaving 42 people dead