Italferr Going Digital with Bentley

June 7, 2021


On August 14, 2018 in Genoa, Italy a 210-meter section of the 1,182-meter Morandi Bridge over the Polcevera River suddenly collapsed, destroying buildings below and resulting in casualties and injuries. Though the cause of the collapse was never officially determined, the bridge had been affected by corrosion, and repairs were scheduled to begin only weeks after the collapse. The remaining structure of the Polcevera Viaduct (now known as the Viaduct San Giorgio) was demolished by June 2019, but since the bridge was part of a key roadway linking Italy with France and a main access point for a nearby airport, it was vital to Genoa’s well-being. To avoid long-term economic and cultural impact to the area, local officials tasked Italferr, based on its 30-plus years in bridge design, to create a new span while adhering to a tight three-month schedule.


Italferr established an open, connected data environment to manage the flow of multidiscipline data and establish clear operating methods, emphasizing collaboration. The company defined standards, templates, and basic criteria to create and curate a digital twin, including information in the model that formed the basis for construction, operation, and design. Computational modeling with a minimized set of information—including work breakdown structure (WBS) identification codes, building materials, and dimensions—allowed the team to create 4D scripts that would optimize and automate processes that were once required to be completed manually.


By including detailed documentation in the digital twin and using 4D visualization to determine critical construction milestones, Italferr created a document for use throughout development and helped define and tighten the construction schedule. Designers from various disciplines contributed to a single federated iModel, which improved clash detection and ensured a single source of truth. The creation of efficient operational methods within a BIM environment enabled Italferr to reduce design costs, accelerate design decisions, increase accuracy, and improve communication among the multidiscipline team. As a result, the project team reduced the number of variants in the system and improved the overall design of the bridge and its structure.


Italferr used ProjectWise to create an open, connected data environment and ensure a single source of truth, as design specialists rapidly updated the design. The organization created a design for the entire infrastructure via MicroStation, OpenRoads, and OpenBuildings Designer, providing visualization for layout, civil works, and systems. Italferr built scripts within SYNCHRO to automate processes and view the 4D evolution of the design. Another set of scripts within OpenBuildings Designer allowed designers to automatically place diaphragms on the project’s main metal deck.