Fears of more bridges collapsing

ER: 8 underpasses under immediate observation

Easily visible wear-an-tear of Pontelungo on Via Emilia Ponente

Easily visible wear-an-tear of Pontelungo on Via Emilia Ponente

As a direct consequence of the disaster in Genoa authorities in Emilia Romagna have launched investigations into high-risk infrastructures around the region, particularly around Bologna. There are several bridges in the city that do not let people sleep peacefully. Starting from Borgo Panigale-Reno, one of the areas with the largest number of viaducts and overpasses, the Pontelungo on Via Emilia Ponente is of most concern to residents.

President of the area Vincenzo Naldi comments that, “Over the years citizens have repeatedly pointed out to us the situation of the bridge, especially during the winter months when tree trunks and debris from the Rhine are piled up next to the structure. A while ago the first work was undertaken to create a sort of ‘icebreaker’, which was able to break the logs to let them flow smoothly down stream. Now, however, 3.5 million euros have already been allocated for a second project, which will involve consolidating that previous work.” Additionally, the bypass at exit two – adjacent to the crash site and huge explosion on the 6 August – is among the viaducts “that require particular attention, being a historical structure.”

Passing the Navile is the bridge on Via dell’Arcoveggio that worries others. “Someone has been saying this for some time,” admits President Daniele Ara, “but the competent bodies have always reassured us that all is fine.”

Special mention has also been reserved for those ‘inspected’ viaducts such as that in Via Matteotti and the one on Via Benazza. More recently, however, is the signal sent to the San Donato-San Vitale district on the Via Libia Bridge. “Someone has turned the spotlight on the structure after what happened in Genoa,” underlines Simone Borsari, president of that District. “Obviously we have already forwarded on the warning to those involved in the maintenance of the municipal heritage.”

Via dell'Arcoveggio Bridge

Via dell’Arcoveggio Bridge

Less worrying is the situation of the Via San Donato Bridge, shored up and secured after the great snowfall of 2012. As for the other districts, the Bolognese reports do not particularly concern the overpasses of which there are few in the Santo Stefano areas and Porto-Zaragoza. “We collect all reports from the municipal portal,” points out Rosa Amorevole, president of Santo Stefano, “and we have never had any problems with these structures.” Lorenzo Cipriani, president of Porto-Zaragoza replies, “In our district there are so many problems but that of bridges is not one of these, we hope, in any case, that the tragedy of the Morandi Bridge (in Genoa) make sure that all necessary checks are carried out of across the whole national territory.”

Engineering professors

According to other engineering professors there are three bridges on the Po between the provinces of Piacenza, Parma and Ferrara (Viadana-Borretto, Colorno-Calsalmaggiore and Ragazzola-San Daniele) under observation and the viaducts that underpin the E45. “Surely it is the road with more bridges and viaducts that can come to mind in the region. Many were built between the end of the 50s and the early 60s and are therefore similar to the Morandi Bridge. Over the years, however, they have had several maintenance works carried out and therefore I would not consider them at risk,” says Alberto Bucchi, now retired but for years among the best known professors of Engineering. For Andrea Simone, professor of advanced infrastructure design, the most problematic situations include “the Parma-La Spezia track and the Bologna-Florence motorway, even though with the opening of the Variante di Valico the old route has been decongested and the situation has improved.” Cesare Sangiorgi, Unibo professor of the Engineering department indicates that its the E45 “in particular… regarding our stretch that goes from Romagna-Umbria and Tuscany.” However, he also considers “the general situation in the region is god especially in light of the recent maintenance.”


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