Giant Italian bridge collapse wreaks havoc in city of Genoa

15 August, 2018, 15:28 | Author: Shannon Aguilar
  • A view of the Morandi motorway bridge after a section collapsed

Economic news agency Radiocor reported this week that Italy's motorway agency had recently launched a 20-million-euro tender for work on the viaduct.

At least 36 people died when a major section of the motorway in Italy's northwest partially collapsed during a heavy storm, according to Chief of Police Col. Riccardo Sciuto.

The Morandi bridge was built between 1963 and 1967. One truck was stopped just a few feet from the edge of the chasm - the edge of the bridge sheared cleanly off.

Italy's transport minister said on Wednesday he had begun a process to fire the bridge's concession-holder, Italian motorway firm Autostrade, a unit of Atlantia group, and he demanded top Autostrade managers resign.

"Imposing the highest penalties possible and making sure that those responsible for the dead and the injured pay up for any damages and crimes is the very least", he said.

It was unclear what had caused the collapse, but the event raised questions among some Italian government officials about maintenance of their country's infrastructure - a common concern in developed countries, where numerous major roadways were built decades ago.

Deputy Italian Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has pointed the finger at the private company which manages the bridge, saying it has earned "billions" from tolls on the highway but "did not spend the money they were supposed to" on maintenance and suggesting its concession should be revoked.

"People living in Genoa use this bridge twice a day", said Deputy Transport Minister Edoardo Rixi, who is from the city.

Genoa is located between the sea and the mountains of northwestern Italy.

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"We should ask ourselves whether respecting these (budget) limits is more important than the safety of Italian citizens". "We can't live with infrastructures built in the 1950s and 1960s".

Italy's minister of transportation and infrastructure, Danilo Toninelli, from the populist 5-Star Movement, threatened in a Facebook post that the state, if necessary, would take direct control of the highway agency if it couldn't properly care for roads and bridge.

Autostrade said it would work with investigators to discover the cause of the disaster, and that it was already assessing how to rebuild the bridge.

Autostrade said work to shore up the road foundation was being carried out at the time of the collapse. "The increasing number of collapses we are seeing in recent years is likely to worsen as deterioration, and inspection and maintenance programs continue to have their budgets reduced".

The government has pledged to increase public investments and lobby the European Commission to have the extra spending excluded from E.U. deficit calculations.

Restructuring work on the bridge was carried out in 2016.

Genoa's Morandi motorway bridge, a 200-metre (650-foot) portion of which collapsed on Tuesday killing dozens of people, has been riddled with structural problems since its construction in the 1960s, which has led to expensive maintenance and severe criticism from engineering experts.

Agrawal said that if the maintenance operation was something to do with any of the cables, it would have been a sufficient risk to have prompted many agencies in the U.S. to close it during renovation.

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