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Genoa collapse: Highways England has no similar bridges

Highways England’s most senior engineer has moved to reassure drivers following the Genoa bridge collapse by stating that none of its bridges are constructed in the same way.

At least 38 people have died following the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa on Tuesday. 

Around 200 m of the central section of the 1.2 km cable-stayed bridge, which was built in the 1960s, fell approximately 45m in the collapse.

Highways England chief highways engineer Mike Wilson said a “very small proportion” of its structures were suspension or cable-stayed bridges, and that none were built in the same way as the Morandi bridge.

The road client has more than 21,000 structures across the strategic roads network, including a variety of major bridges.

Mr Wilson reassured drivers that safety was the client’s highest priority and that it had rigorous controls in place to protect road users.

He said: “We have detailed design standards and quality control processes to ensure bridges are designed and constructed to provide safe and comfortable journeys for road users.

“This is supported by a thorough and regular regime for inspecting all structures, including bridges, on England’s motorways and major A-roads and taking any necessary action to help ensure they stay safe.”

General inspections of Highways England structures are carried out every two years, with more detailed principal inspections occurring every six years.

The Italian prime minister Guiseppe Conte has declared a 12-month state of emergency in the Liguria region following the bridge collapse. More than 400 people have been evacuated from the area.

Mr Wilson said: “Our deepest sympathies are with everyone involved in the tragic bridge collapse in Genoa.

“We’re committed to continually improving our network to make every journey the safest it can be.

“So when the causes of the Genoa bridge collapse have been investigated and reported, we will carefully assess any lessons to be learnt and will bring in any required changes to standards and processes.”

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