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New viaduct partially collapses in Sicily

A section of a new viaduct in Sicily has collapsed days after opening.

The Scorciavacche viaduct in the Palermo province was opened on 23 December but had to be closed within 10 days after Anas, the construction company responsible for the project, noticed signs of “subsidence”. As a result of the precautionary closure, no vehicles were on the road at the time of the collapse.

Having analysed images of the incident, Dave Petley, pro-vice chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of East Anglia, believes an earthworks failure caused the collapse.

Petley explained: “The problem appears to be the failure of a set of remarkably steep earthworks alongside one of the bridge abutments – the abutment itself seems to be intact.

“The failure seems to have affected quite a long section of the embankment. This is clearly an earthworks failure – i.e. a landslide in the embankment.”

This case, which is currently under formal investigation, comes just six months after a similar incident in the region. In July 2014, a collapse along the Petrusa bridge in the southern Agrigento province left four people injured.

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