Genoa, Italy (PortSEurope) August 18, 2018 – Three days after the collapse of a major bridge that killed dozens in the northwest Italian city of Genoa, authorities were mulling two solutions to try to minimize the effects of the disaster in the short and medium term.
On one hand, alternative routes are needed to divert heavy vehicles headed to port from passenger traffic. On the other hand, the city plans to build a new viaduct in the place of the fallen one in two years.
On Tuesday, the mid-section of a 1,182-metre viaduct called Morandi Bridge, linking Genoa west and east, and leading to two major highways, collapsed, severely damaging the city’s complex viability system, depriving it from a major artery towards port areas.
“In the short term, we could have a drop up to 10% of the goods volume annually exchanged in the two port basins of Genoa,” Paolo Signorini, chairman of Autorita’ di Sistema Portuale del Mar Ligure Occidentale (AdSP – Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority), told Xinhua.
“We might estimate a loss up to 10% of the value added taxes and excises annually produced by our port system, which amounted to some €6 billion ($6.8 billion) in recent years,” Signorini said.
The official said viability must be restored as soon as possible, finding a swift alternative path for the traffic previously passing through the collapsed bridge, and especially for heavy goods vehicles headed to the port.
Time for avoiding the city being congested was short: the first week of September, at latest, Genoa would return to its usual, intense life after the summer holidays.
“Practically speaking, the bridge collapse has deprived the city of four carriageways,” the mayor explained. “If we are able to open the two alternative routes we are thinking of, using private roads, we will have six lanes instead.”
Genoa alone has two major port basins, Sampierdarena and Voltri.
“Genoa registers daily movements of some 8,000 heavy goods vehicles in its two basins of Voltri and Sampierdarena, including exports and imports,” the Port Authority chief explained. “Approximately, we estimate 1,500 of such vehicles used the Morandi Bridge daily,” Signorini added.
With Genoa’s existing viability, such freight transport would naturally flow into the waterfront before the port areas, and that, according to Signorini, was “unconceivable, and impractical”.
The major alternative that municipality, Liguria region, and port authority together were planning would involve adjacent roads.
“Our solution would focus on existing arteries within an area managed by (steelwork company) ILVA and a neighbouring state-property area,” the chairman explained. “These two areas are already connected by a bridge, and directly reach the port.”
The possible wider impact of the bridge is also linked to the relevance of the port system. Some 69 million tonnes of cargo are annually handled in Genoa’s 30 specialized terminals, with China alone accounting for about 35% of such volume, according to the Port Authority.
Over 4 million people every year choose the three ports (Genoa, Savona, and Vado) as departure points for their trips every year.
Finally, a study carried out by consulting institutes Nomisma, Prometeia, and Tema in 2016 showed Genoa’s port supply chain provided at least 28,000 direct jobs, producing €6.89 billion ($7.87 billion) in annual turnover, and €2.78 billion ($3.17 billion) in value added.
Including indirect effects, such as purchases of goods and services in other sectors and induced impact, the research estimated a total of 54,000 employees, some €10.84 billion ($12.37 billion) in turnover, and €12,37 billion ($14.12 billion) in value added.
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