Executive Intelligence Review


Motorway Bridge Collapse in Italy Highlights Failing Infrastructure in the EU

Aug. 14, 2018 (EIRNS)—The collapse of a highway bridge in Genoa today, killing 35 as of this morning, has dramatically posed the issue of failing infrastructure and austerity policies in the EU. The Morandi Bridge, named after its architect, connected the end of the A7 highway from Milan with the beginning of the A10 from Genoa to Nice, France. The bridge was built in the 1960s and therefore was not very old, but its construction technique proved to be faulty, and it was estimated that maintenance costs would be more than the costs of constructing a new bridge.

The fault of the bridge consisted in the stays of the beamed bridge being constructed from prestressed concrete rather than the usual steel cables. Over the years, the increase in freight traffic added to the built-in instability of the bridge, so that a collapse was considered as highly probable soon. The bridge was monitored, but apparently that did not help.

The reason why a new bridge was not built is because: 1. The highway was privatized and the new owner, the Atlantia company belonging to the Benetton family, played down the danger; 2. The EU-induced austerity policy which has collapsed infrastructure spending in Italy; 3. Environmentalist opposition.

Especially grotesque is that the M5S, which now heads the Infrastructure Ministry, among others, opposed the construction of the new viaduct, by endorsing the Atlantia arguments that with opportune maintenance the Morandi bridge “can last a hundred more years.”

The M5S opposes large infrastructure, including whatever is essential to connect Genoa to the Belt and Road Initiative, and which is aimed at pulling heavy freight traffic off the roadways onto rail.