New bridge in Genoa to be inaugurated two years after tragedy
A new bridge will be inaugurated in the Italian city of Genoa on Monday, two years after 43 people died when the previous structure collapsed.
The Genoa San Giorgio Bridge was built in just 15 months and will replace the Morandi Bridge, which was one of the city's main arteries before it collapsed in heavy rain in August 2018.
The new bridge will be inaugurated at 6:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. ET) with a ceremony and tribute to the victims. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will speak at the event and posted on Facebook ahead of the inauguration.
"It is an important day, which shows the present and the future of a changing country," Conte wrote in a Facebook post Monday.
Architect and Genoa native Renzo Piano, who designed the new bridge, will also appear at the event. Piano also designed the Shard in London and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
The project cost 200 million euros, about $220 million, plus the cost of demolishing the Morandi bridge, which added another 90 million euros, or about $98 million.
"It all began with a tragic event that we will never forget. But now is the time to build on the positive energy that has been created and look to the future," said Ugo Salerno, President and CEO of RINA.
While the new bridge was constructed in an unusually short time, Salerno emphasized that safety has been a priority: "The 'Genoa Model' has already become well known and some say that it is not replicable in other projects, but I don't think that's true."
"Rapid construction is not a question of skipping procedural steps or paying less attention, but rather of planning each and every activity in detail to overcome the inevitable unforeseen events and get immediate and effective responses from all those involved, in particular from the public authorities."
Local shop owner Luigi Speranza is hopeful for the future but will always remember the tragic collapse.
"We hope there will be more people and that the traffic will get better, this is a step forward for the people in the area, but we still remember vividly what happened -- too many paid for their lives," he told CNN.
Built in the 1960s, the Morandi Bridge crossed the Polcevera river in central Genoa and was a vital link in the A10 highway that connects northwest Italy to France.
It was one of the busiest bridges in the country, carrying freight and tourists to and from the port city of Genoa.
When one of the main pylons fell during mid-morning traffic, it brought with it a section of road spanning 600 feet that crashed down on the railway and buildings below, leading to the evacuation of hundreds.
There had been warnings for years that the Morandi Bridge was an accident waiting to happen, and the Italian government has come under fire for failing to carry out necessary maintenance and controls on the bridge.
Italy's transportation ministry ordered inspections of overpasses and bridges in the region in the wake of the tragedy, according to a statement on its website. Dozens were found to have safety issues and required repairs which have caused traffic congestion in the region.