The last of 18, forty-metre-high concrete piers was completed yesterday in the headlong race to build a new bridge in Genoa, Italy.
"Building this project is like wearing the country’s colours," said Pietro Salini, chief executive of Salini Impregilo, which is building the bridge with Fincantieri.
The 1,067-metre, Renzo Piano-designed bridge will replace the Morandi Bridge over the Polcevera River valley, which collapsed in August 2018, killing 43 people.Â
Celebrating the milestone, the construction joint venture, called Pergenova, said it had been reached "in record time".
Work on the first of the piers’ foundations began only on 24 June 2019. Since then they have gone up at an average rate of three a month.
Render of the 1,067-metre, Renzo Piano-designed bridge (Courtesy of Pergenova, the construction joint venture)
The uniformity of the piers let the builders use the same formwork for every one, saving time.
"Relentless" was how the JV described the work of installing the bridge’s deck sections.Â
"There are millions of people who are cheering and encouraging us on," said Pietro Salini.
"They want to see us succeed in meeting this challenge that we have set for ourselves in the name of our country. And this is the greatest satisfaction that we derive from our work."
In October Salini scolded Italy for its high number of stalled infrastructure projects, saying the new Genoa bridge would be an example of how major projects should be run.Â
The piers have gone up at an average rate of three a month (Salini Impregilo)
The company is promoting the idea of "Progetto Italia" – or "Project Italy" – to unleash the country’s latent engineering and construction talents.
Taken together, the height of the 18 elliptically-shaped piers, including their foundations, is 1.5km, nearly twice the height of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, Salini Impregilo said.
Now, the focus switches to the 19 steel deck sections. So far, 10 of these have been installed.
"Work on this part of the project is relentless," Salini Impregilo said.
The new bridge will restore an important transport link in the region.Â
A completion date has not been specified, but Genoa’s mayor has expressed hope it will be finished in spring or summer this year.
Top image: Taken together, the 18 piers are higher than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa (Salini Impregilo)