Genoa - Eight months, nine months, a year, eighteen months. The construction times for the new viaduct across the Polcevera go from the initial optimistic estimates to extremely cautious timeline forecasts; meanwhile, however, a possibility so far ignored by most, but welcomed by many experts has emerged: the possibility of repairing the bridge without demolishing it.
The time variable would seem to play in favour of that option. That’s according to Paolo Rocchi, professor of heritage building restoration at Rome’s La Sapienza: “The time needed to repair the bridge would be three to four times shorter than what it would take to demolish and rebuild it from scratch.”
Professor Rocchi was one of the speakers in a conference organized on Monday, October 1st, in Rome at the headquarters of the Association of Builders (ANCE), titled “Restoring and reintegrating the Morandi Viaduct?” The addition of a question mark responds to the fact that the participants expressed doubts about the official course taken so far, rather than taking any firm view.Gabriele Camomilla, engineer and, until 2005, former director of maintenance of Autostrade, who’s been active with an online petition to request the Ministry of Infrastructure to form a new technical commission to ascertain the status of the viaduct’s remains , with a view to keeping them, restoring where necessary, and to rebuild the collapsed section in steel, also spoke at the gathering.
His petition is circulating widely and has gathered many signatures amongst structural engineers and bridge designers. “To demolish the entire bridge,” insists Camomilla, “would be a crime.” Massimo Mariani, in-charge of structure consolidation at the National Council of Engineers, is keeping an open mind: ”On the technical aspect I agree with Camomilla’s conclusions. But on a human level I understand the desire to turn the page and start from scratch. I just hope that the Renzo Piano project, in its simplicity, will reconcile Genoa with the entire country.”