Italy Threatens to Revoke Motorway Contract After Genoa Bridge Collapse

The collapse of the Morandi viaduct on Tuesday the foundations of infrastructure management in Italy also trembled. The Government blames the incident on the concessionaire that manages this stretch for not having carried out the maintenance and announced that the concession will be withdrawn, an unprecedented decision. In an extraordinary Council of Ministers, the Executive declared a state of emergency in the city for a year.

The causes of the collapse that has caused at least 39 victims are still unclear possibility that the structure gave way, surpassed by the weight of the vehicles, or that the collapse began in the suspenders of the bridge but the experts exclude completely that it was provoked by the heavy rains or by a ray that fell right in the area shortly before.

The Government of the 5 Stars and League Movement is heading in the same direction against those who consider themselves responsible for the catastrophe, the concessionaire Autostrade per l’Italia, the subsidiary of Atlantia -owned by the Benetton family-, which manages the bridge.

During the extraordinary Council of Ministers that was held on Wednesday in Genoa, the company’s license was approved, although it was not clear whether it would be applied to a limited section or to the 3,020 kilometers of roads it manages throughout the country. “We will begin the procedure to revoke the concession to Autostrade,” announced Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Vice President Luigi Di Maio had advanced hours earlier while visiting the area of the collapse. “They had told us they were securing the bridge. Are excuses. Autostrade has to do the maintenance and has not done it. The dome must resign, “he said, proposing to sanction the company with 150 million euros.

The Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Danilo Toninelli, also demanded resignations and supported the sanctions. “It seems clear that they have not fulfilled their obligation to maintain if a bridge has fallen means that it has not been done,” said the minister grilling, openly arguing that the tragedy “could have been avoided.”

The interior minister and leader of the League, Matteo Salvini, who was in southern Italy, also supported the proposal and announced on Radio 24 that he will contact the rest of the private companies that manage the Italian motorways to ask them what budget earmarked for maintenance.

During the extraordinary meeting of the Government also approved the creation of a fund of five million euros “to cover the first urgent interventions” and to provide support to the 500 evacuated people who lived in buildings near the bridge, practically stuck, and several annexed apples, as the security perimeter was extended several meters Wednesday, fearing that there would be further landslides in the structure, 90 meters high and just over a kilometer long.

The Government is not the only one accusing the concessionaire of having delayed the security controls of the controversial viaduct, which has been criticized since its construction. “We were all afraid to go there” or “it was known that sooner or later something was going to happen ” are the most widespread comments among the Genoese people these days.

In fact, there are several engineers who had warned of the vulnerability of the structure. Even a former Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Antonio di Pietro, who held the portfolio from 2006 to 2008, warned him then in an interview with the newspaper La Repubblica: “The Morandi is not eternal.”

The director of the company, Stefano Marigliani, guaranteed on Wednesday in statements to the RAI that the maintenance work was being monitored and there were no elements warning of imminent danger, so it does not rule out “any hypothesis.” “Nothing predicted what would happen,” he reaffirmed at a gathering on the same chain, while the journalists reminded him that the Genoese had denounced the deterioration of the bridge on multiple occasions.

The Prosecutor’s Office of Genoa has opened an investigation to try to clarify the causes of the collapse. The attorney general of the city, Francesco Cozzi, was clear about it. “We can not speak of a fatality, but of a human error,” he said on public television. And he assured that he will do everything necessary to clarify why it has happened.

The collapse has been a blow that literally has split the city in two, as much Genoese say, since the Morandi viaduct, the economic symbol of the Italy of the prosperous sixties, was one of the only two ways that link the east and south. the west of Genoa. And the fastest.

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