The dramatic collapse of a bridge in Italy with many fatalities has been the big item of news all over Europe. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...-death-toll-italy-minister-calls-resignations and many other reports. I just wonder if the qualified people here can throw any light not on the specifics which would be hard for them to know, but in general. I mean bridges are supposed to stay up. Engineers are famous for knowing how to construct bridges. For doing calculations on bridges, that is something they are famous for. And they are pretty successful because bridges generally stay up. I realise they cannot be left to themselves to stay up, but require checking and maintenance from time to time. Worrying thing, that does not seem to me at all easy. The temples of antiquity, the Coliseum, I've been told, would still be standing intact if they had been maintained. That what throws them down is plant life, inserting itself between the stones etc (as well as the edifices being used as convenient quarries sometimes), but this can be seen superficially and could be prevented without any advanced technology. Whereas I think of the steel members that might be suffering, corroding or something, as buried deep inside concrete and quite invisible. Difficult. A distinguished engineer was asked for comments on BBC last evening, and was not particularly comforting. Said that bridge safety was 'a calculus of uncertainties'. Engineers would give an uncertain warning that it would be prudent to close a bridge for investigation, then it was up to someone else to assume the responsibility of the significant economic damage, a lot depends on them, of deciding whether or not to close them pending investigation. There are many of these often spectacular bridges in Italy, basically a mountainous country. There are a number, in my impressionistic memory a dozen or two in the autostrade into and out of Genoa and in the hundred or two kilometres of coastal autostrada South from there, (Where you are more at risk from the drivers than from bridge collapse, more there than anywhere else I know, but that's another matter). The link on the above article notes that there have been other collapses in Italy, put down to inadequate inspection and maintenance. One may suspect in construction too - cutting corners with the materials etc. relative to those specified. In other words corruption. Often enough in Italy buildings calculated to resist a given strength of earthquake have nevertheless collapsed for this reason. That explains why you see in the headline that immediately there is an assumption someone is to blame and a search for a culprit. It would be useful to hear from experts here what light they can shed on this, on the state of the art and how things are, can be, managed. The article also states "the bridge was a sort of jewel in Italian engineering, because at that time it was built with new engineering techniques." They can surely explain the striking way an entire section collapsed, One would expect it to break in one point, but then I suppose as it kind of pivoted, snaps in another?