Albanians among dead in Italy bridge collapse

The collapsed Morandi Bridge is seen in the Italian port city of Genoa Italy

Fire brigade sources told Ansa that 35 people were dead and 12 missing.

Ingegneri.info said that bridges like the Morandi viaduct should have a lifespan of at least a century, but the structure has been the subject of major maintenance work in the years after its completion, in particular to fix cracks and combat degradation of the concrete.

Eye-witness Ivan, 37, evacuated on Tuesday from the nearby building where he works, described the collapse as unbelievable.

Images from the scene showed a mangled mass of buckled vehicles and slabs of bitumen torn up as the bridge, built in the late 1960s, came tumbling down.

Mr Toninelli also said the government would carry out nationwide structural inspections of ageing bridges and tunnels across the country.

Morandi had used a similar technique for other works, including the longer and similarly problematic General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge in Venezuela, completed in 1962.

Italy's minister of transportation and infrastructure, Danilo Toninelli, said there was a plan pending to spend 20 million euro ($22.7 million) on bids for significant safety work on the bridge.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the thoughts of French people were with the victims and their nearest and dearest, and that France was ready to provide whatever support was necessary. "Obviously for me, it is not", said Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, head of the right-wing League, part of the ruling coalition.

Some 200 firefighters were on the scene, the fire service said, and Sky Italia television said four people had been pulled from the rubble.

"In the sad history of bridge collapses, maintenance has sometimes been a factor, if it is poorly planned or implemented", Mr Firth said.

Authorities say at least 30 people have been killed, with the death toll expected to rise.

"I'm following with the utmost apprehension what is happening in Genoa and what looks like it could be an huge tragedy", Transport and Infrastructure minister Danilo Toninelli said on Twitter.

A man who was under the highway bridge as it collapsed also called it "a miracle" that he survived. "We can't live with infrastructures built in the 1950s and 1960s".

Mehdi Kashani, an associate professor in structural mechanics at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, said pressure from "dynamic loads", such as heavy traffic or strong winds, could have resulted in "fatigue damage" in the bridge's parts.

The government has pledged to increase public investments and lobby the European Commission to have the extra spending excluded from E.U. deficit calculations. It is in continual maintenance.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte visited the city and called the collapse "a serious wound for Genoa, Liguria and Italy".

The ongoing maintenance costs meant it might have been more economical to rebuild it, according to Antonio Brencich, a structural engineer who lectures at Genoa University. The motorway is a major artery to the Italian Riviera and to France's southern coast.

Agrawal said that if the maintenance operation was something to do with any of the cables, it would have been a sufficient risk to have prompted many agencies in the United States to close it during renovation.

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