HS railway bridge Piacenza over the Po River in Italy

RFI to renew bridge on Bologna-Milan high-speed line

HS railway bridge Piacenza over the Po River in Italy Alexandra.Antonini

Mid-August, Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, a member of the Infrastructure Cluster of the Italian FS Group, will carry out major infrastructure renewal works along the Bologna-Milan high-speed line, in particular on the cable-stayed bridge over the river Po and in the Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana station.

The works, to ensure the maximum reliability of the line, are part of the maintenance plans for the civil works and tracks of the line, which is travelled every day by almost 200 high-speed trains. From 14 to 17 August, RFI will proceed to replace the supports on the cable-stayed bridge over the Po, and from 7 to 18 August, they will replace switches at the Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana station. These activities will require changes to train circulation.

From 14 to 17 August, work is also in progress at Orte, where some switches will be replaced. In order to allow for construction work, High-Speed trains on the Milan-Rome route will use the conventional line between the Piacenza East and Piacenza West interconnections and between Settebagni and Orvieto. Changes to the commercial offer are expected with a reduction in the number of journeys and longer journey times of about one hour.

Replacement of cable-stayed bridge bearings on the Po River

From Monday 14 to Thursday 17 August 2023, RFI will replace the two supports of one of the main piers of the cable-stayed bridge over the river Po, on the Bologna side. To enable the operation, the bridge deck will be raised (the part on which the tracks rest) by about 6 centimetres, using 18 hydraulic jacks. This will allow the lower anchors and the upper pin of the supports to be freed from their counter plates embedded in the deck.

Once the replacement work is complete, the deck will be lowered again and the necessary safety checks will be carried out using a monitoring system that records the structural parameters of the structure in real-time. Upon completion of the subsequent track checks, the resumption of HS traffic on the line will be authorised. A similar activity was carried out last year on another main pier (Milan side), while ad hoc inspections have already been performed on all 72 stays of the bridge.

The cable-stayed bridge over the Po River is equipped with an advanced monitoring system, consisting of stations that record data collected by about 100 sensors inside the bridge and send them to a company server in real time. This system makes it possible to record 24 hours a day what in technical jargon is called the breath of the bridge. Together with the designer of the work, Professor Mario Paolo Pietrangeli, alarm thresholds were then defined, according to which the system generates instant alerts to the railway infrastructure managers when they are exceeded.

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Author: Emma Dailey

Emma Dailey is an editor at RailTech.com and RailTech.be.

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