Pre-collapse space geodetic observations of critical infrastructure: The Morandi Bridge, Genoa, Italy

Pietro Milillo, Giorgia Giardina, Daniele Perissin, Giovanni Milillo, Alessandro Coletta, Carlo Terranova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


We present a methodology for the assessment of possible pre-failure bridge deformations, based on SyntheticAperture Radar (SAR) observations. We apply this methodology to obtain a detailed 15-year survey of the Morandi bridge (Polcevera Viaduct) in the form of relative displacements across the structure prior to its collapse on August 14th 2018. We generated a displacement map for the structure from space-based SAR measurements acquired by the Italian constellation COSMO-SkyMed and the European constellation Sentinel-1A/B over the period 2009-2018. Historical satellite datasets include Envisat data spanning 2003-2011. The map reveals that the bridge was undergoing an increased magnitude of deformations over time prior to its collapse. This technique shows that the deck next to the collapsed pier was characterized since 2015 by increasing relative displacements. The COSMO-SkyMed dataset reveals the increased deformation magnitude over time of several points located near the strands of this deck between 12th March 2017 and August 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1403
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Bridge engineering
  • Critical infrastructure monitoring
  • Synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR)


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