At least 37 people have died after a section of a highway bridge in northern Italy partially collapsed Tuesday, according to Italian officials.
CNN reports that Angelo Borrelli, head of the Italian Civil Protection Agency, told journalists that around 30 vehicles and several heavy-duty trucks were on the affected section of the Morandi Bridge, which lies to the west of the port city of Genoa, when it collapsed.
The incident occurred around noon (6 a.m. EST) Tuesday, Italian state police said, later posting a video on Twitter of the moment the bridge gave way. Police said that a violent storm was the cause of the collapse, though Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci said that the exact cause was yet to be determined. What is known is that the bridge was undergoing maintenance, the company in charge of Italian highways, Autostrade, said in a statement.
The statement goes on to say that “a bridge-crane was installed to allow maintenance works to be carried out” adding that, “the work and status of the viaduct were subject to constant observation and supervision” by their Genoa division. The company added: “The causes for the collapse will be the subject of an in-depth analysis as soon as it is possible to safely access the site.”
The section of the A10 highway affected crosses over several roads, railway tracks, shopping centers, homes and the Polcevera River. It is a major thoroughfare, linking central Genoa with Genoa airport and towns along the coast to the west of the city.
Antonio Brencich, an engineer and associate professor of reinforced concrete constructions at the University of Genoa, expressed concern about the bridge's safety back in 2016. In an interview released with La Repubblica after the Morandi Bridge collapsed, he said the bridge was "constantly undergoing maintenance."
More information, as well as several videos shot by bystanders on the scene, can be found here.
Roads & Bridges will post any further updates later. This post was last updated at 10 a.m. CST on 08/16/18.
Source: CNN / New York Times