• The GCC Financial Forum 2019
Genoa starts demolishing bridge

Genoa starts demolishing bridge

Engineers started the delicate task of taking apart Genoa’s Morandi motorway bridge yesterday almost six months after its partial collapse during a storm killed 43 people and injured dozens. Thousands of tonnes of steel, concrete and asphalt have already been removed from the spectacularly truncated highrise bridge in the northern Italian port city to make it lighter before the “deconstruction” operation began.

“It’s an important day, the first step on a path that we hope will be as short as possible,” Prime Minister Giussepe Conte told journalists at the site. Four powerful strand-jacks positioned on the bridge by an enormous crane began unhooking and slowly lowering a 36-by-18 metre (118-by-59 foot) concrete slab weighing over 900 tonnes.

The jacks are the same as those used to right the Costa Concordia cruise liner off Tuscany in 2013, after it ran aground and capsized with the loss of 32 lives. The operation to lower the vast slab around 48 metres to the ground is expected to take at least eight hours.

Homage to the victims

The operation will help the city move on from the August disaster, which beyond the human cost also ripped out one of the city’s main transport arteries. Italy’s most famous living architect Renzo Piano, a Genoa native who helped design the Pompidou Centre in Paris, has provided the design for the replacement bridge that “will last for 1,000 years”. While the new structure has been designed to look different from the old one, opened in 1967, it will contain a homage to the victims of the accident.

It will feature 43 lamp poles in memory of those killed when a section collapsed during a storm on August 14, sending dozens of vehicles and tonnes of concrete tumbling to the ground. The new bridge commission, headed by Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci, noted the new design “rests on pillars, respecting the feeling of psychological aversion in the city (to) other types of bridge with suspended or cable-stayed parts”.

It will “have elements of a boat because that is something from Genoa,” Piano has said, describing a streamlined and luminous white structure. The new bridge is estimated to cost 202 million euros (US$229 million), making it one of the most expensive in Europe. It is expected to be open to traffic by April 2020, junior transport minister Edoardo Rizi said on Thursday, with the demolition of the old structure due to take 190 days.

Invisible decay

The old cable-stayed bridge was made from reinforced concrete, with the steel cables linking the bridge’s towers also covered in concrete. One theory investigators are looking into is that the steel within the concrete had decayed, although this would not have been visible.

There have also been allegations of poor maintenance, poor design and questionable building practices. Explosives will be used to demolish the bridge from around February 20, Genoa’s Repubblica newspaper reported. The eastern side of the bridge, where the structure gave way, still needs to be examined by experts and prosectors.

Autostrade per l’Italia (Aspi) operated the failed bridge and several of its managers could face trial over the collapse. Ahead of anticipated court proceedings, Aspi is still negotiating compensation payments with bereaved relatives, for a total of 50 million euros.




Hsieh upsets Pliskova

Hsieh upsets Pliskova

Hsieh Su-wei won the last six games to beat fourth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 yesterday in Dubai and will face a woman she has never beaten, Petra Kvitova, in the semi-finals. Second seed Kvitova, winner of the event in 2013,

US, China open trade talks in Beijing

US, China open trade talks in Beijing

US and Chinese negotiators kicked off two days of high-level trade talks in Beijing yesterday hoping to resolve a festering dispute that has cast a shadow over financial markets and the global growth outlook. Pressure to seal an accord

Saudi crown prince to visit Indonesia

Saudi crown prince to visit Indonesia

Indonesia will host Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a state visit next week, Jakarta said yesterday, part of an Asian tour that includes stops in Pakistan, India and Malaysia. His two-day visit to the world’s b


All eyes on Sharm el-Sheikh

All eyes on Sharm el-Sheikh

His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa will lead Bahrain’s delegation to the first Arab-EU Summit, which kick-offs tomorrow in the presence of European and Arab leaders at Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The R

Lending a helping hand

Lending a helping hand

The supporting activities of the second edition of the Strongest Bahraini Championship were held yesterday at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) under the patronage of HH Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa. The move was part of humani

Saudi bags $10bn oil deal

Saudi bags $10bn oil deal

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud met China’s President Xi Jinping yesterday and bagged a $10-billion oil deal. Prince Mohammed arrived in Beijing on Thursday following visits to Pakistan and India. &ld

Hsieh upsets Pliskova

Hsieh upsets Pliskova

Hsieh Su-wei won the last six games to beat fourth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 yesterday in Dubai and will face a woman she has never beaten, Petra Kvitova, in the semi-finals. Second seed Kvitova, winner of the event in 2013,

Kim Kardashian sues fashion company

Kim Kardashian sues fashion company

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West has filed a lawsuit against an online retailer for using her name and image without permission to advertise their own designs. Kim on Wednesday filed a case against Missguided USA, seeking damages in