By Rob Picheta, CNN
(CNN)The remains of Genoa’s Morandi Bridge were blown up in a controlled explosion on Friday, nearly a year after the structure collapsed in a disaster that killed 43 people.
Demolition experts brought down the two remaining towers of the highway bridge in dramatic fashion just after 9:30 a.m. local time (3:30 a.m. ET), making way for a new structure to be built on the site.
4,000 people were evacuated from their homes to clear the area, AFP reported, and explosives were attached to the legs and body of the bridge, which went down in about seven seconds in a flurry of smoke.
Water tanks were on hand to prevent the spread of dust after the explosion.
Italy’s Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini, attended the explosion, and crowds of locals watched from a safe distance.
For 10 months, the remains of the structure have stood awkwardly on the outskirts of Italy’s sixth-largest city, a painful reminder of tragedy for thousands of its residents.
The concrete viaduct collapsed in torrential rain in August 2018 after its cable stays gave way, throwing vehicles to the ground and killing scores of travelers.
The incident shocked Italy and prompted a fierce debate about the safety of the country’s infrastructure.
Built in the 1960s, the Morandi Bridge was a vital link of the A10 highway that connects northwestern Italy to France, across the Polcevera river in central Genoa. It was one of the busiest bridges in the country, carrying freight and tourists to and from the port city.