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Testing begins on collapsed Italy bridge debris

3127091 polceveraviaduct

Testing has begun on debris collected from the site of the Polcevera Viaduct to determine what caused the fatal collapse.

Sections of the motorway bridge – which collapsed in Genoa, killing 43 people in August – have been sent to a specialist lab in Switzerland for testing.

Experts at the Federal Laboratory for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) will now study the debris to determine if certain sections had corroded which in turn caused the collapse.

In the wake of the collapse, sources close to the investigation told New Civil Engineer that when examining the main stay cables evidence of corrosion and damage had been found.

They suggested a failure of the cables – which were encased in concrete to protect them from the elements – may be behind the collapse.

Engineers have also suggested a potential cause for its collapse could be that the heavy rain washed ground from underneath the tower, undermining its foundations. The bridge’s foundations were undergoing strengthening works at the time of collapse, according to Italian highways operator Autostrade.

However, while the source close to the investigation said that nothing was being ruled out at this stage, he said that the foundations for the collapsed tower “appeared to be stable”.

The Italian government has blamed toll road operator Autostrade for failing to maintain the bridge, more commonly known as the Morandi Bridge.

A report by the Transport Ministry said that Autostrade had been “unable to deal with issues” arising from the ageing infrastructure it operated. 

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