Trucks have been driven over Genoa’s new bridge to test it is a safe replacement for the Morandi Bridge – which collapsed two years ago and killed 43 people.
The testing began in northern Italy on Sunday and is expected to last up to six days.
The trucks will first drive slowly along the bridge in tight formation to allow its deck to structurally settle.
Then they will drive along the north and south carriageways in a low gear to test the “twisting” capacity.
The final test will involve them all braking at the same time to test the structure’s ability to withstand large weights horizontally.
The rigorous testing follows the collapse of the old bridge on 14 August 2018 during a torrential rainstorm, which sent cars and trucks crashing to the ground.
The disaster caused national outrage, much of it targeted at infrastructure group Atlantia who had operated the bridge.
A seven-year-old boy and his parents, driving to Sardinia for a holiday, were among the dozens killed.
Italy launched a national plan to make motorways, bridges and schools safe following the incident.
Some of the victims’ families boycotted a state funeral and claimed the tragedy was caused by negligence.
Motorway executives attending a memorial ceremony last year were also told to leave after relatives asked the Italian prime minister to intervene.
The ceremony came as a technical report showed that some parts of the bridge had not been maintained for 25 years.
The new bridge is designed by architect and Genoa native Renzo Piano and is due to be inaugurated in August.