Industry: Road and Rail
Product: Descartes, gINT, iModel.js, LumenRT, MicroStation, Navigator, OpenBuildings Designer, OpenRoads Designer, ProjectWise, SYNCHRO
User: Italferr S.p.A.
Country: Italy


October 21, 2019

Adopting Digital Twin Speeds Design and Construction of the Morandi Bridge Replacement in Genoa, Italy

Italferr S.p.A is a company of the Italian State Railways Group Ferrovie dello Stato Italiano and has been at the forefront of Italian and international large-scale infrastructure projects for 30 years. The organization specializes in conventional and high-speed rail, metropolitan and road transport, and port facilities. The company’s scope includes engineering design, project management, construction site management and supervision, and acceptance testing and commissioning. 

After the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in August of 2018, the Pergenova Consortium Company in the city of Genoa, Italy commissioned Italferr to develop the executive design phase of a 200-meter section of a new viaduct over the Polcevera River. The bridge collapse, which received worldwide attention, destroyed the buildings below it and resulted in many fatalities. The incident raised concerns about the condition of bridges in Europe, with studies suggesting that many need to be renovated or replaced because of corrosion and structural deterioration.

The project, estimated to cost EUR 202 million, is scheduled to be completed in June of 2020. To limit the amount of time that the bridge will be out of service, the project team needed to complete the new bridge as quickly as possible on the same footprint as the previous bridge and meet regulatory adjustments for new Italian standards for the cross-section of the deck and the curvature radii of the junctions and entrances. The new bridge’s main deck will include a continuous girder with a length of 1,067 meters, 19 reinforced concrete piers, and 20 spans, compared to the previous bridge, which had eight piers and nine spans.

To meet the tight schedule, Italferr created a digital twin to support all BIM workflows through the executive design phase. Digital twins have broad application in advanced design environments, where fully functioning virtual models are developed that help the design team collaborate and simulate the performance of an asset at any point in its design. The digital twin was enabled through a connected data environment built on ProjectWise that managed the flow of data coming from the multidiscipline project team using Bentley’s open modeling and open simulation applications. Utilizing MicroStation, OpenRoads, and OpenBuildings Designer, the project team created digital models of the terrain, road, and related civil works, as well as the mechanical and electrical systems. 

To simulate construction, the team used SYNCHRO to understand critical works and other complex situations. SYNCRO’s 4D digital construction environment made it possible to visualize, analyze, edit, and track the evolution of the project dynamically through its various implementation phases. The team linked the iModels dynamically to SYNCHRO to identify and remove potential conflicts, which made it possible to virtually simulate and optimize construction. 

Bentley’s applications have helped the team accelerate design decisions and improve the quality of design, while at the same time reducing design cost, minimizing changes, increasing the accuracy of data, and improving the efficiency of project team collaboration. The accelerated design will help to restore Genoa’s road system, which is essential to the social and economic balance of the city, by June of 2020. The new bridge will restore broken transportation connections within the city, offering a modern structure capable of increasing the flow of goods and vehicles. The design of the bridge will help restore public confidence, greatly improve road traffic safety, and ensure the durability of the bridge structures.

“The BIM methodology used in this project follows the digital twin approach,” said Daniela Aprea, project engineer and BIM manager with Italferr. “The visibility and insight it enabled allowed us to significantly change the way in which we deal with the design and management of infrastructure work.” 

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