The pandemic lockdown likely saved lives when the Caprigliola bridge collapsed

On Wednesday, Apr. 8, 2020, the Caprigliola bridge in Tuscany, Italy collapsed. The Caprigliola was the first reinforced concrete bridge built in Italy, officially opening in Oct. 1908.

The bridge had a great run for its first 37 years, but it was severely damaged by deployed mines during WWII. During the reconstruction of the bridge, reinforcements were made to accommodate heavier traffic capacity.

The Caprigliola operated without any safety concerns for 63 years. In 2013, the bridge first started giving some signs of wear and tear that could potentially be dangerous to its integrity.

In 2019, Tuscany experienced extreme weather conditions. Motorists driving on the bridge reported to authorities that there were cracks in the asphalt.

The authorities audited the bridge and reported, "The viaduct for the moment does not present criticalities such as to compromise its static functionality." Ultimately, the assessment showed that the cracks did not impact structure and they were just an aesthetic issue.

Five months after the motorists spotted the cracks, the bridge collapsed. Luckily, there were not many people on the bridge and only two people were mildly injured. The heavily trafficked bridge didn't have its regular commuters on it while it collapsed because of the Coronavirus lockdown.

The cause of the bridge's demise is still not conclusive. Architects have made conjectures that unknown localized damage snowballed and eventually led to the collapse.