The architect of the bridge that collapsed in Genoa, Italy, has built several other spans around the world, including a relatively small bridge that connects two parts of the city of Castlegar, B.C., across a river.
The Kinnaird Bridge, also known as the Columbia Bridge, was designed by Italian engineer Riccardo Morandi in 1960 and completed in 1965. The two-lane span runs some 200 metres over the Columbia River and carries the Crowsnest Highway through Castlegar, a city of approximately 7,800 people.
The Kinnaird Bridge stands on four V-shaped concrete supports with no cabling or overhead support structure, making it much smaller in scale than the bridge that collapsed in Italy.
Kinnaird Bridge construction in a later stage, 1963/64. via Geraldine Sookorukoff
The bridge has an unremarkable history, with no major safety issues on record. It was last upgraded in 2011 to hang water and sewer pipes from its underside.
The bridge is in a relatively quiet area surrounded by trees and is part of the Crowsnest Highway route linking Alberta to B.C.’s Pacific Coast. The town of Castlegar is currently planning to create a nature trail that connects to the eastern side of the bridge.
An engraved plaque on the bridge lists Morandi as a consulting engineer on the project.
The Kinnaird Bridge was Morandi’s only North American design and is relatively small compared to his other projects, which often connected busy highways across large spans. Many of his works were built in the 1950s and 1960s in Italy, although he also has several major bridge designs in other parts of the world, including South America and Africa.
Libya’s Wadi El Kuf Bridge, a concrete cable stay bridge designed by Morandi in 1971, was shut down last October due to fears that the concrete might fracture, according to local media.
However, the Libyan bridge is more than twice as long as the Kinnaird Bridge, with more struts and an overhead support system.
The bridge Morandi built in Genoa was 1.2 kilometres long, with two A-frame towers and concrete-encased stay cables.
It collapsed with dozens of cars on it during a rainstorm.
The cause of the collapse has not yet been determined.