Published: 2020-03-31

Causes of the Morandi viaduct disaster in Genoa as a contribution to the design of pre-stressed structures

Janusz Rymsza


The article analyses the causes of the Morandi viaduct disaster in Genoa. This three-span viaduct was a part of the A10 motorway leading to Savona. The structure of the viaduct supports was unusual. A pylon to each of the frame support was added and cantilevers to each pylon by means of a pair of suspended cables. The construction of the cable used was also atypical. The concreted cable had a rectangular cross-section and was a steel and concrete composite element. The concrete in this element was compressed with steel tendons so that it could transfer the tensile forces generated by the traffic load. The durability of the concreted cable subjected to tension was low. The article provides information on the technical condition of the viaduct and the way of strengthening the cables in the early 1990s. At that time, the author of the article visited this structure. He had a different concept of reinforcement than the one that was implemented. In August 2018, the viaduct disaster occurred, as a result of which one of the structure supports collapsed, and in June 2019, during the demolition process, the other two supports were blown up. Since in Venezuela and Libya there are still two more bridges with a structure similar to that in Italy, the concept of reinforcing them, as proposed by the author of the article 25 years ago, may still be useful.


disaster of viaduct Polcevera, large pre-stressed bridge structures, Prof. Morandi.

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Rymsza, J. (2020). Causes of the Morandi viaduct disaster in Genoa as a contribution to the design of pre-stressed structures. Roads and Bridges - Drogi I Mosty, 19(1), 5–25.

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