morandi viaduct collapse in genoa

Watching this with horrified interest.  Riccardo Morandi’s iconic A10 viaduct in Genoa suffered a major collapse earlier today during a torrential storm.  The one video posted by La Repubblica shows what looks like the already damaged western tower collapsing.  There are reports that traffic was heavy, it being the holiday season, and that there was maintenance being done on the bridge deck.  Some reports say the tower was struck by lightning before the collapse, though it’s hard to imagine how this would be the cause.  Video of the rescue efforts show windy conditions, which seems more likely a contributing factor.

The viaduct employed Morandi’s classic hybrid style–each tower was a simple A-frame with tension arms that held the ends of a compression deck.  Between these were shorter spans of simple beams.  Their diagrammatic simplicity was matched by (relatively) easy construction, which meant that the system was economical for his much larger project over Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, and for the short leap that the A91 highway from Fiumicino Airport into Rome takes alongside the Tiber.  Will be looking for further news and/or ideas about just what happened.  La Repubblica’s twitter feed has been a reliable source this morning.