Genoa’s giant bridge towers demolished

Demolition experts have blown up the remains of the giant Morandi bridge in the Italian city of Genoa, nearly a year after the structure collapsed.

Thousands of people were evacuated ahead of explosions 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.

Forty-three people were killed when part of the bridge, and cars travelling along it, fell 45m (148ft) last August.

It prompted a fierce debate about the safety of Italy’s infrastructure.

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.

Hundreds of residents, including pregnant women and the elderly, were told to leave on Thursday ahead of the demolition.

More than 3,400 others were evacuated on Friday morning from the areas surrounding the two towers in preparation for the operation.

Roads within a 300m (984ft) radius of the demolition site were also closed.

Explosives were attached to the legs of the towers and the parts of the bridge still standing.

Minutes before the explosions, sirens rang out and water began to spray the structure from tanks all around the base.

Then, at 09:37 (07:37 GMT), the towers were gone. It took just eight seconds for the structure to collapse in a swirling cloud of dust.

The demolition of towers 10 and 11 on Morandi bridge took place 37 minutes late because officials were concerned that one elderly resident had refused to leave.

In the end the man’s home was found empty, but two non-European Union (EU) citizens were found in another building watching TV, Corriere website reported. They were completely unaware of the evacuation.

Genoa mayor Marco Bucci announced after the blasts that everything had gone according to plan, although checks would be made during the day.

Dozens of water tanks and sacks were placed alongside and beneath the structure, with the aim of preventing the spread of fine dust by creating a wall of water some 50m high when the explosives are detonated.

Italy’s deputy prime ministers Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio joined onlookers in Genoa for the demolition, broadcast live on Italian TV.

Locals will be permitted to return later on Friday if the area is considered safe. –BBC

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