Remains of collapsed Genoa bridge demolished

The remains of a bridge in Genoa that collapsed last year in a deadly accident were destroyed in a controlled explosion Friday. The dramatic demolition marks a key moment for the Italian city as it looks to put the tragedy behind it.

A huge boom echoed across the valley as the blast levelled the two remaining pylons of the Morandi Bridge, which collapsed almost a year ago in an accident that cost 43 people their lives.

Earlier, more than 3,400 residents had been evacuated from the surrounding area, as engineers laid some 550 kilograms of explosives and made the final preparations for the bridge’s demolition.

Afterwards, officials said the controlled explosion had been a complete success.

“At 09:37am the bridge came down, the procedure has been absolutely respected and right now the results show that we are in line with the plan,” Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci told reporters.

The bridge collapsed on August 14, sending dozens of vehicles plunging 50 metres to the ground below.

Since then the remains of the bridge have stood as a painful reminder of the tragedy for Genoa’s residents.

“It'll be good when we don't see that bridge anymore as it reminds us of bad things,” Metodio, a local bar manager, told AFP.

Authorities have accused the bridge’s operator Autostrade per l'Italia of failing to maintain the bridge properly, but the company has denied wrongdoing.

Residents will only be able to move back into the homes once the dust from the explosion has settled and health authorities have declared the air quality acceptable.