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Italy bridge collapse | Renzo Piano’s rebuild plan revealed

Bridge designs by renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano have been selected to replace the Polcevera viaduct which collapsed and killed 43 people in August.

Italian construction and engineering companies Salini Impregilo and Fincantieri have won the contract to build the new €200M (£180M) bridge in Genoa, Italy, after more than 20 designs were submitted to the local authority.

Piano is best known for designing London’s Shard as well as the New York Times headquarters. The 81-year-old had earlier volunteered to help design a replacement bridge, which he said would “last for 1,000 years”.

The two companies will work together in a joint venture called Pergenova with the aim of completing the structure in 12 months following the demolition of the old bridge remains. Demolition works started last weekend, with construction previously earmarked to begin in March.

The new bridge will have a continuous 1,100m steel deck with 20 spans. It will have 19 elliptical piers made of reinforced concrete, the majority of which will be positioned 50m from each other. Two of the piers will be 100m apart because of their location on the river and the railway which runs below the highway.

Salini Impregilo chief executive Pietro Salini said: “Twelve months to help relaunch Genoa. That is the dream that we are hoping to give the Genoese before Christmas in memory of the victims of this terrible tragedy: to relaunch the city as quickly possible and send a strong message to the entire country.”

Fincantieri will build the steel structures at its Genoa-Sestri Ponente shipyard, as well as at an offsite facility in Verona.

The production of the metallic deck will be carried out in macro structural elements that will be transported to the work site, assembled and welded, completing the working of each single span on the ground.

An investigation into the cause of the collapse of the Polcevera viaduct – also known as the Morandi bridge – continues

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Readers' comments (1)

  • While it is perhaps difficult to avoid the offer of help from a world renowned son of the city of Genoa, even if they happen to be an architect, this can only enhance the perception that the engineer now has a subordinate role in the design of major bridges.

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