Italy evacuates thousands as remains of collapsed motorway bridge to be demolished

A view of the remaining eastern pylons of Genoa's Morandi motorway bridge, to be destroyed with explosives (in red) on June 27, 2019.
A view of the remaining eastern pylons of Genoa's Morandi motorway bridge, to be destroyed with explosives (in red) on June 27, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

ROME (DPA) - The remains of a motorway bridge in the Italian city of Genoa, which collapsed 10 months ago killing 43 people, are due to be knocked down on Friday (June 28) in a high-stakes operation affecting thousands of people.

A series of controlled dynamite explosions should bring down in a few seconds the last two standing pillars of the Morandi bridge, equal to 20,000 cubic metres of steel and concrete.

Particular care is being taken to minimise the dispersion of toxic dust particles. Some 3,400 people living close to the remains of the bridge had to be evacuated ahead of the demolition.

Motorway traffic through the north-western port city was suspended for the day, and lorries were banned, while restrictions are in force for local pedestrian, car and train traffic.

The Morandi bridge was a key piece of infrastructure for Genoa, and the authorities are striving to have a new bridge in place as soon as possible.

Earlier this week, work started on the foundations of the new structure, and Mr Giovanni Toti, president of the Liguria region which encompasses Genoa, said it would be ready in the spring of 2020.