MILAN (Reuters) – A bridge on a normally busy provincial road in northern Italy collapsed on Wednesday but with virtually no traffic during the coronavirus lockdown, only two truck drivers suffered minor injuries, the fire brigade said.
A spokesman for the fire brigade said the 260 metre bridge on the SS330 road near the town of Aulla, roughly midway between Genoa and Florence, in the northern tip of Tuscany, collapsed at 10:25 a.m. (0825 GMT).
Although casualties were limited in Wednesday’s incident, the incident highlights the poor state of repair of Italy’s road network, after the collapse of a motorway bridge in the port city of Genoa in 2018 that killed 43 people.
Helicopter views of the area of the latest accident showed sections of the bridge crossing the river Magra had collapsed to the level of the water, buckling a stretch of road behind it.
The lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus has cut movement so heavy midweek traffic that might normally have been using the bridge was absent and only two vehicles were involved.
The two drivers were taken to hospital with minor injuries, a fire brigade spokesman said.
The bridge was previously managed by provincial authorities and was then put under the management of ANAS, a company controlled by state-owned railway group Ferrovie dello Stato.
Transport Minister Paola De Micheli said ANAS had been operating the bridge since 2018 and said she had requested a detailed report from the group.
The poor maintenance of Italy’s roads and bridges and mismanagement of its highway network has been a major political issue since the collapse of the bridge in Genoa, which was operated by infrastructure group Atlantia.
The road affected by Wednesday’s incident had been repaired after bad weather in November.
ANAS said in a statement there was no work going on at the time of Wednesday’s disaster.
Giulia Segreti reported from Rome, Francesca Landini from Milan, Editing by Alison Williams