Six seconds of controlled explosions wiped out the remains of a collapsed bridge in the northern Italian city of Genoa today, the ageing viaduct that saw one of the worst tragedies in modern Italian history when it gave way last year, killing 43 people.
Explosives tore down two towers of the Morandi bridge as cannons shot water over the 20,000 cubic metres of steel and concrete to prevent huge clouds of dust engulfing the city.
A 656ft (200m) stretch of the bridge collapsed on August 14 in heavy rain, sending dozens of vehicles plunging 164ft (50m) to the ground below.
Only 14 people survived the collapse while 43 people died in the tragedy, including eight-year-old Samuele Robbiano, the youngest victim.
The collapse of the A10 motorway viaduct has made access to Genoa’s busy port more difficult and has also meant a lengthy detour for drivers wanting to head onwards to southern France, now it is being demolished to make way for new infrastructure.
Demolition of the two support structures that remained after the collapse was called for by officials investigating the incident after the bridge appeared to lean on a neighbouring property for support.
The government of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League wants its rapid reconstruction, hoping to signal a departure from the corruption and inefficiency that have often plagued Italian infrastructure projects.
A cloud of dust rises as the remaining spans of the Morandi bridge are demolished in a planned expolosion, in Genoa, Italy, Friday, June 28, 2019
The spectacular planned explosion knocked down the remaining spans and supporting columns of the Italian bridge that collapsed last year, killing 43 people
Once the dust settles: Deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini said today would also see the start of the construction of a new bridge
5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio and League chief Matteo Salvini, both deputy prime ministers, attended the demolition, after Infrastructure Minister Danilo Toninelli laid the first stone of the new viaduct earlier this week.
‘Today not only the old bridge comes down, but the new one starts coming up,’ Salvini said.
The reconstruction was assigned to Italian firms Salini Impregilo and Fincantieri. Designed by the renowned Genoa-born architect Renzo Piano, the new viaduct is planned to be inaugurated by the middle of next year.
Some 3,500 people who live nearby were evacuated as a precaution in the hours before the demolition. Sirens sounded a final warning
The remnants of the bridge were thought to be unstable but remained standing for eleven months after its partial collapse during a storm
It remains unclear whether the government will keep its promise to revoke the concession of toll road operator Autostrade per l’Italia, a unit of infrastructure group Atlantia which was in charge of the bridge’s maintenance.
Rome has accused the operator of serious failings in its upkeep of the bridge. Autostrade has denied wrongdoing, saying regular, state-supervised inspections had indicated the ageing viaduct was safe.
A trial to determine culpability has not yet been scheduled however an investigation remains underway.
The revocation procedure started a few days after the bridge collapsed, but the coalition parties are now divided.
Water jets fired into the air to create a ‘wall’ of water to cut down on the dust particles allowed to spread through the area
A 656ft (200m) stretch of the bridge collapsed last August, not only killing 43 and injuring dozens but also leaving 600 homeless due to the bridge’s proximity to nearby homes
A dramatic image shows the falling of the remaining bridge, reminiscent of the tragic scene 11 months ago
The bridge’s deck lies in debris and rubble after explosive charges blew up the eastern pylons of Genoa’s Morandi motorway bridge
A general view shows the two pylons of Genoa’s Morandi motorway bridge before they were destroyed with explosives which can be seen in red on the concrete structure below
Orange bags of explosives can be seen strapped to the lower structure of the Morandi bridge, one day before demolition
General view of Morandi Bridge, with orange explosives strapped to the undercarriage, before controlled explosions demolished its two pylons
The very first second of the explosion is captured as plumes of debris can be seen rising from the soon to be demolished structure
Following the demolition, houses are surrounded by what appears to be a landslide of debris and concrete
The bridge’s deck lies in debris and rubble among evacuated buildings after explosive charges blew up the eastern pylons – west pylons remain (bottom) before also being blown up
Netting is used as a precaution to prevent dust and debris spreading further than necessary, in a landscape already blighted by the tragedy
Water is spread on debris and rubble after explosive charges blew up the eastern pylons of Genoa’s Morandi motorway bridge
Fire hoses spray water to reduce dust triggered by the planned blast which demolished the remaining spans of the Morandi bridge
One of the remaining spans of the Morandi bridge collapses in a planned explosion (left). The bridge’s deck touches the ground in a cloud of smoke and water after explosive charges blew up the eastern pylons of Genoa’s Morandi motorway bridge (right)
Demolition of the two support structures that remained after the collapse was called for by officials investigating the incident after the bridge appeared to lean on a neighbouring property that had been built underneath
An underneath view of the Morandi motorway bridge, taken on August 16, 2018, two days after a section of the bridge collapsed, shows evacuated buildings under the bridge’s structure, columns and deck
A trial to determine culpability has not yet been scheduled however an investigation remains underway
General view after controlled explosions demolished two of the pylons of the Morandi bridge. Rome has accused Autostrade, the operator, of serious failings in its upkeep of the bridge
Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini (right) talks with Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Edoardo Rixi and Liguria Region’s governor Giovanni Toti prior to the Morandi highway bridge’s pillars demolition, in Genoa, northern Italy, 28 June 2019
Italian region Liguria’s governor Giovanni Toti talks with journalist prior to the Morandi highway bridge’s pillars demolition, in Genoa, northern Italy, 28 June 2019