Tue, 29 Sep 2020

ROME, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Italy's new Genoa Saint George Bridge, which replaces the viaduct that collapsed two years ago and killed 43 people, was inaugurated in the northwestern port city of Genoa on Monday.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella, and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, along with other officials attended the ceremony, which was televised live by RAI national public broadcaster.

The ceremony began with a performance of the national anthem, followed by a reading out of the names of the 43 victims along with the names of their home towns or countries of provenance, and a minute of silence in their memory.

"Today is a day of intense emotion," Italian starchitect and Genoa native Renzo Piano, who designed the bridge for free, said in a speech at the ceremony.

Piano, 82, who designed the Center Georges Pompidou in Paris, The Shard in London, and the new Whitney Museum in New York, said:"It is not easy to be the heir of a tragedy, but my great hope for this bridge is that it will be loved."

The bridge construction involved the work of 1,189 skilled construction workers and engineers. "To you our city expresses a heartfelt thank you," said Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci.

Prime Minister Conte also thanked all the workers who "labored with competence and with passion" on the construction of the bridge.

The new bridge consists of a continuous steel deck measuring 1,067 meters made up of 17,400 tons of steel and has 19 steel and concrete spans which are held up by 18 elliptical piers in reinforced concrete.

Equipped with robotic and sensor automation systems for infrastructure monitoring and maintenance, the bridge adopts solar-powered lighting system, according to PerGenova, the consortium that built the new bridge.

DEADLY COLLAPSE

The new structure replaces the Morandi Bridge, a viaduct built in the 1960s whose midsection collapsed during a torrential downpour just before noon on Aug. 14, 2018, sending some 30 cars and trucks crashing onto a riverbed, train tracks, and warehouses that lay 45 meters below.

In the days that followed, a total of 16 survivors were pulled out of the rubble, one of whom subsequently died.

The final death toll stood at 43. The victims were from Albania, Colombia, Chile, France, Italy, Jamaica, Romania, and Peru, according to the Genoa prefecture. Those who died included families with children, couples, and groups of young friends going on holiday.

An investigation into the causes of the deadly collapse is ongoing.

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