Several new road bridges have appeared in Val di Serchio since we arrived in the area in 2005. Most of these were long overdue. At the industrial area below Pian di Coreglia there was a single carriageway causeway, called a “passerella”, which was used by the heaviest of trucks to cross the river between that point and the main road to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, the Via Lodovica at Turrite Cava, near the village of Bolognana. There were no passing places on the passerella and no traffic lights to help with the one-way system. This meant that, frequently, if one was virtually half-way across the bridge and a lorry was coming in the opposite direction one would have to engage reverse gear to return to the start!
My “historic” photograph shows the old bridge with the new one being built alongside it in November 2005. By autumn of the following year the new bridge was fully functional and the old causeway was demolished – a pity as it could have been used as a pedestrian and cyclist route across the Serchio. Moreover, the old causeway, which was built shortly after the Second World War when practically all the bridges in this area had been destroyed either by allied bombing or by deliberate destruction by Gerry to halt the allied advance, was clearly a historically significant feature.
Despite problems with the original contractors, who were over 300 days late and were terminated in January 2006, the new bridge was inaugurated on October 15 the following year, together with the unveiling of two plaques at each end of the bridge structure dedicated to Guglielmo Lera, a distinguished Luccan historian and archaeologist – the relatively recent building housing the roman mosaic floor at Massaciuccoli, is also named after Lera who contributed much to the knowledge of the past in the Lucchese.
The total cost of the new bridge was two and a half million euros. It has a road width of 9.50 metres, with two lanes of 3.50 metres each and two footways 1.25 metres wide. Its bridge length is 210 metres and, together with the approaches, extends to a total length of 330 metres.
Although I watched the construction of the new bridge with some interest I was not present at the inauguration and ribbon cutting. I’m sure that the celebration would have been in typical Italian style with the usual high and mighties, a band playing, a priest blessing the new structure and, of course, lots of goodies to eat afterwards.
I can’t think how people used to cope with the old bridge which, among other things, transported the lorries that supply the GPL gas to my tank. (No mains gas in Longoio as yet, regrettably…)