With the demolition of the old bridge over the Tagliamento river, a 56-year-old piece of history has left. It was January 1963, in fact, when Autovie started the works of the first great work that united the newly formed Autonomous Region Friuli Venezia Giulia with Veneto. Although designed to withstand a high traffic flow, the artifact was currently inadequate, so that in order not to interrupt the transit, Autovie had introduced a series of restrictions to heavy traffic. Completed the first of the two viaducts that make up the new bridge and moved the traffic, thus began the demolition, in phases, of the old one: first it was the deck then the piles and finally the foundations. The intervention will involve the municipalities of Ronchis for the easternmost part and San Michele al Tagliamento for the portion facing west. The structure, composed of prefabricated concrete beams and pulvini with attached lateral shoulders in reinforced concrete, consists of two bridges separated by an embankment. Altogether the infrastructure develops for a kilometer and 100 meters for 48 spans and 102 piles. A dozen excavators at work, equipped with pliers, hammers and buckets, in addition to trucks and various articulated vehicles for the transport of the material resulting from the demolition and about twenty people engaged daily. The work procedures chosen by the company will be to ensure the best possible environmental protection and to reduce as much as possible the noise and dust produced will be used only modern machines with low emission levels. All the material, coming from the demolition, will be given to the crushing and screening plant, to then be analyzed and reused, if suitable. Maximum care and attention in the cleaning phase of the material to ensure a perfect restoration of the places.
The fame of the bridge over the Tagliamento is linked to an intuition. That of Paolo Petrucco, then 30 years old – historical founder of Icop in Basiliano – who, after assigning the contract, decided “against his father’s wishes”, as he himself says, to create a very expensive “prefabrication plant” he says – but conceptually cutting-edge for that era”. “There was a similar one only in Venice for the construction of the Tessera airport and it was there that I saw the automatic batching plant and the first mixer trucks operate. We took our cue from there and it was a winning choice that allowed us to build the work in just two years “. A record for that era. In 1965 the infrastructure saw the light “and the following year when there was the flood in Latisana – Petrucco explains – the people managed to save themselves by bringing the animals on the bridge”. Pierino Burba thought of the definition of every constructive aspect of the artifact and of conceiving and designing the installations, whose name is linked to the great works signed by Icop. The beams were prefabricated and launched, then completing the deck with an in-situ concrete casting. “At that time, the chairman of Autovie – Petrucco explains – was the lawyer Agostino Candolini, who, knowing he could count on a small but very efficient organization entrusted to the director of works engineer Cuttini and to the surveyor Fioritti, gave a definite impetus for the construction of the Trieste – Venice motorway starting from bridges “. The bridge of the Tagliamento was awarded by tender to the competition (to carry out the project was the same company, including the calculation of the structures, the reliefs and the expropriations). About 10 companies took part in the competition and after a first selection to compete for the work were the “Impresa Alvise Petrucco”, known for having built the Simonetti overpass in Via Cividale in Udine, and a company in Milan. The two projects remained at stake for about four months until the integration of the foundations was requested as a supplement, “a change that we had already foreseen in the project and therefore we were not forced – Petrucco reveals – to make a variant e, consequently to increase the price “. The race was won by the Friulian company on the wool thread. The work cost 900 million lire. “And here began the confrontation with my father – Petrucco underlines – that he was not convinced to concentrate the production of concrete in a single centralized plant close to the construction site. In my organizational model the transport was entrusted to modern truck mixers and this allowed us to reduce many steps and to finish the work in just two years. I myself sometimes drove the vehicles and threw the concrete into the formworks”.”I can say – he concludes – that we were a little forerunner of the construction methods adopted today for the ashlars of the new Tagliamento viaduct. We anticipated the times, showing that the Italians, if put in the condition, are the best builders in the world”. At the time, about 50 people worked on the construction site and the workforce consisted mostly of Carnic people. “I still feel nostalgic for those times – Petrucco admits – we worked night and day with enthusiasm and without sparing ourselves. That bridge marked a turning point for our company, but also for a large territory, Friuli and Veneto, finally united by a bridge and a highway. It was a resounding technical and economic success”.