The 235 km of the A4 Brescia - Padova and the A31 Valdastico, the motorway sections under the responsibility of A4 Holding, recorded traffic in 2017 of over 111 million actual vehicles; this measures the number of all vehicles entered, exited or transited on the highway, regardless of the amount of kilometers traveled. In the period of the last survey carried out (from November 2017 to March 2018), 41 million actual vehicles passed through A4 and 8.7 million in A31, respectively equal to a daily average of over 272 thousand and 57 thousand vehicles. The increase in light vehicles in transit in the five months of data collection compared to the same period 2016/2017 was 2%, while that of heavy vehicles was 3.3%. The total number of accidents on the routes recorded between November 2017 and March 2018 was 314, for the most part due to causes probably attributable to excessive speed, failure to respect safety distances and tire failure. One was the accident that had fatal consequences for motorists and passengers.
With these ever-increasing traffic volumes, the alert level of the Centro Operativo Viabilità (COV) has also risen, the nerve center of the management of the motorway network in the area under its jurisdiction and located at the A4 Holding headquarters in Verona. All the information of what happens along the arteries is collected by various types of equipment (from 236 cameras for the automatic detection of accidents to 29 traffic sensors, up to 24 weather detection systems) and transferred in real time to the monitoring systems and control of the VOC itself, where the operators process and interpret them and then implement the intervention procedures. The 259 SOS columns, arranged every 2 km along the entire route in both A4 and A31 and for the most part now used by foreign motorists and truck drivers in transit, recorded a total of 339 distress calls from November 2017 to March 2018. A small part compared to the total of the assistance interventions, reported and requested more and more via mobile phone and activated through the COV and divided between mechanical assistance (4,800 the total of operations of this type recorded in the period under examination), doctor or simple request for information . The COV then had to monitor and coordinate, in addition to the critical issues due to the high vehicular transit of the December weekends, also the intervention activities due to the effects of the “Burian”.
This meteorological phenomenon, caused by large masses of freezing air that arrived in the Mediterranean from the continental North-East and hit Italy with particular intensity in the period between February 28th and March 3rd, 2018, resulted in snowfall of a few centimeters (4 cm in February and 8 cm in March), but nevertheless led to a sharp drop in air and asphalt temperatures (on average -5 / -6 C °), with consequent difficulty in keeping the highway pavement not frozen. A4 and A31 are fully equipped with sound absorbing draining floors, which allow ever higher safety standards and also to improve safety in the presence of adverse weather conditions. However, A4 Holding has decided to further enhance its winter intervention plan, organized through the 6 Winter Service Centers (present in Brescia east, Sommacampagna, Verona east, Montecchio Maggiore, Badia Polesine and Piovene Rocchette) which employ about 350 employees. During the Burian days, more than 8,000 cumulative hours of cleaning work were carried out by the 161 snowploughs and 47 salt spreaders with which the company is equipped, for cleaning lanes, bus stops, parking areas and service areas, allowing to minimize the danger for motorists in transit and stop and the level of accident on the entire route. A4 Holding also prepared in 2017 a real digital identity card of bridges, viaducts, over- and underpasses included in the relevant sections, which allowed to implement the data collected in a software platform to support the complex management of the works of maintenance. In 2017 and in the first quarter of 2018, A4 Holding carried out important extraordinary maintenance interventions which led to the execution of 11 complete restorations of road works, in addition to 174 individual construction sites, mostly at night, necessary to carry out the restoration of concrete of 54 overpasses on the A4 motorway stretch between Brescia and Sommacampagna.