A suspension bridge suddenly collapsed near the town of Aulla in northern Italy but, fortunately, no victims were reported.
More than 1,5 years after the dramatic failure of the Morandi bridge in Genoa that resulted in 43 fatalities, another structural collapse occurred in Italy, revealing the country's poor infrastructure conditions.
The incident occurred on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. A large section of the 260-meter length bridge located on the SS330 roadway between Florence and Genoa, gave way at about 10:30 am local time. A rescue operation immediately initiated in search of motorists affected by the collapse.
Fortunately, the traffic in the roadway has been significantly reduced due to the coronavirus lockdown and there were only 2 trucks on the bridge at the moment of the collapse. The two drivers suffered injuries and one of them was transferred to a hospital via helicopter. "It's a sheer stroke of luck that a collapse hasn't turned into a tragedy - because of a lack of traffic caused by the coronavirus emergency," Michele de Pascale, head of the Union of Italian Provinces, stated.
The bridge was constructed in 1908 but was renovated after WWII. Since 2018, it has been managed by ANAS, a firm controlled by Ferrovie dello Stato, a state-owned holding company that manages the Italian rail network. According to ANAS, the bridge had been frequently inspected since 2019. However, the bridge's deterioration had been noticed by local officials. Roberto Valettini, a local major, stated that he had sent three letters to the operator of the structure warning about the conditions of the bridge.
The causes of the collapse are under investigation and a detailed report on the circumstances under which the failure occurred will be issued within a month. Preliminary reports mention that the failure was probably caused by the deteriorating steel rods from which the bridges' spans were suspended.
Recent updates reveal that there has been a crack along the bridge that emerged after a period of heavy rainfalls in November 2019. The issue was reported and, according to officials, it was addressed.
Italy's inadequate infrastructure maintenance is a crucial issue with severe consequences and has become a major political issue, especially after the aforementioned Morandi bridge incident. According to Nicola Zingaretti, head of the ruling coalition Democratic Party, Italy must retrofit its infrastructure projects as soon as possible.