Controlled explosions demolish remains of collapsed Italy bridge

Italy Genoa Bridge

Six seconds of controlled explosions wiped out the remains of a collapsed bridge in the northern Italian city of Genoa on Friday, paving the way for a new structure to replace the ageing viaduct that 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 meters of steel and concrete to prevent huge clouds of dust engulfing the city.

The bridge collapsed on August 14 in heavy rain, sending dozens of vehicles plunging 50 meters to the ground below.

The collapse 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.

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.

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.

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Morandi bridge demolished
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 and some 3,500 people who live nearby had been evacuated as a precaution in the last hours; sirens sounded a final warning. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
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 and some 3,500 people who live nearby had been evacuated as a precaution in the last hours; sirens sounded a final warning. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
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 and some 3,500 people who live nearby had been evacuated as a precaution in the last hours; sirens sounded a final warning. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Controlled explosions demolish two of the pylons of the Morandi bridge almost one year since a section of the viaduct collapsed killing 43 people, in Genoa

The remains of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, which partially collapsed in August 2018, killing 43 people, were demolished on June 28.

More than three thousand people were evacuated from surrounding areas before the explosions. Credit: Vigili del Fuoco via Storyful

General view after controlled explosions demolished two of the pylons of the Morandi bridge almost one year since a section of the viaduct collapsed killing 43 people, in Genoa
Controlled explosions demolish two of the pylons of the Morandi bridge almost one year since a section of the viaduct collapsed killing 43 people, in Genoa
This is the dramatic moment demolition experts blew up the remains of a major road bridge in Genoa, which collapsed last year killing 43 people.During heavy rainfall on 14 August 2018, a large section of northern Italy’s Morandi bridge collapsed, crushing dozens of vehicles in busy traffic.Today, the rest of the structure was demolished in a series of controlled explosions.Thousands of residents were evacuated ahead of the major project which brought down two large towers consisting of about 4,500 tonnes of concrete and steel.Water tanks were placed around the towers to prevent the spread of dust.Italy's deputy prime ministers Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio joined onlookers in Genoa for the event, broadcast live on Italian TV.The Morandi bridge was a critical structure in Genoa, serving the busy A10 motorway network that serves the Italian Riviera and links northern Italy to France.Minutes before the explosions, sirens rang out and water began to spray the structure from tanks all around the base.Then within eight seconds the towers were gone.Locals will be permitted to return later on Friday if the area is considered safe.
Genova, Genoa, Italy - February 2019: Demolition work, dismantling works to disassemble what is left of partially collapsed ponte Morandi (Morandi bridge) after structural failure disaster
FILE PHOTO: A rose is placed on railings near the collapsed Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy, February 9, 2019. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca/File Photo
Construction workers dismantle the collapsed Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy, February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
GENOA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 09: The first section of the remains of the Morandi Bridge is being taken down on February 9, 2019 in Genoa. Demolition of the Morandi Bridge begins at Ponte Morandi on February 09, 2019 in Genoa, Italy. The bridge suffered a partial collapse on August 14, 2018. (Photo by Stefania M. D'Alessandro/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: A general view of the collapsed Morandi Bridge in the port city of Genoa, Italy, February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
Firefighter helicopter flies over the collapsed Morandi Bridge in the port city of Genoa, Italy August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
FILE PHOTO: The collapsed Morandi Bridge is seen in the Italian port city of Genoa, Italy August 15, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The collapsed Morandi Bridge is seen in the Italian port city of Genoa, Italy August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Construction workers dismantle the collapsed Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy, February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The collapsed Morandi Bridge is seen in the Italian port city of Genoa, Italy August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo
Cranes lower a section of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. Workers taking apart the remains of a bridge which collapsed in Aug. 2018 are set to remove a 40 meter beam, seen in between the red machinery. A large section of the bridge collapsed over an industrial area in the Italian city of Genova last summer during a sudden and violent storm, leaving vehicles crushed in rubble below and killing 43 people. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Cranes lower a section of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. Workers taking apart the remains of a bridge which collapsed in Aug. 2018 are set to remove a 40 meter beam, seen in between the red machinery. A large section of the bridge collapsed over an industrial area in the Italian city of Genova last summer during a sudden and violent storm, leaving vehicles crushed in rubble below and killing 43 people. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
A view of of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. Workers taking apart the remains of a bridge which collapsed in Aug. 2018 are set to remove a 40 meter beam, seen in between the red machinery. A large section of the bridge collapsed over an industrial area in the Italian city of Genova last summer during a sudden and violent storm, leaving vehicles crushed in rubble below and killing 43 people. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
People look at cranes as they lower a section of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. Workers taking apart the remains of a bridge which collapsed in Aug. 2018 are set to remove a 40 meter beam, seen in between the red machinery. A large section of the bridge collapsed over an industrial area in the Italian city of Genova last summer during a sudden and violent storm, leaving vehicles crushed in rubble below and killing 43 people. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
A general view on the collapsed Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy, February 9, 2019. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
A general view on the collapsed Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy, February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
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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.

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.

The revocation procedure started a few days after the bridge collapsed, but the coalition parties are now divided.

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