The Kinnaird Bridge in Castlegar was designed by the architect of the bridge that collapsed this week in Genoa, Italy. (Photo by Betsy Kline)

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

The bridge that collapsed this week in Genoa, Italy and tragically killed at least 39 people has an unusual tie to Castlegar of all places: the architect.

The Kinnaird Bridge, designed by Riccardo Morandi, is part of Highway 3 and crosses the Columbia River between Ootischenia and Castlegar. It is maintained by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI).

The bridge was designed in 1960 and construction was completed in 1965. Its span of about 200 metres is much shorter than the Italian bridge which was just over a kilometre long.

In a statement, MOTI said although both bridges were both the work of Morandi, the designs are very different

“It is important to note that the Kinnaird Bridge differs significantly in size, design and structure type than the one that failed in Italy,” the ministry said.

“The Kinnaird Bridge has an excellent history, with no safety issues on record since it was built in 1965. It has undergone routine maintenance and minor repairs over the years, including bridge deck resurfacing, concrete sidewalk repairs, joint replacements and railing repairs.”

MOTI also said that the most recent inspection of the Kinnaird Bridge indicates that it is in good condition, and there are preliminary plans to conduct additional detailed inspections.

“Once the cause of the collapse in Genoa is confirmed, we can use that information to decide if any further action may be required for our bridges,” said MOTI.

MOTI added that all of B.C.’s bridges, including the Kinnaird Bridge, are inspected every year and that the ministry supplements these with more extensive detailed inspections as needed.

“The ministry employs professional bridge engineers and qualified, trained bridge personnel to conduct all inspections of our bridges,” said MOTI.

In 2011 the City of Castlegar added water and sewer utilities to the underside of the bridge in order to service the airport lands across the river from the city.

Castlegar CAO Chris Barlow said that the city inspects the utilities installation every three years, with the most recent inspection being 2017.

It is likely that many cities around the world will be taking a look at Morandi’s work. His career began in 1927 and spanned into the 1980s. Much of his work focused on reinforced and prestressed concrete structures.

In addition to bridges, he also worked on churches, cinemas, office buildings, aircraft hangars and the Fiumicino Airport in Rome. In 1969 he was appointed professor of bridge design at the University of Florence and the University of Rome.

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Riccardo Morandi’s name can be found on the dedication plaque for the Kinnaird Bridge. (Photo by Betsy Kline)

Construction of the Kinnaird Bridge from 1964. (Photo courtesy Walter Volovsek/Kootenay Gallery)

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