Published: Wed, August 15, 2018
Finance | By Gustavo Carr

Italy bridge collapse kills 37, ignites national anger

Italy bridge collapse kills 37, ignites national anger

The ANSA news agency reported Mr Capello called his father while he was stuck in his vehicle and told him he was safe and not to worry.

"I heard a noise and then it all collapsed", the shaken 33-year-old said.

Some 440 people were evacuated from buildings near by.

It said that simply updating or reinforcing the bridges would be more expensive than destroying and rebuilding them with new technology.

Some 60,000 vehicles would cross the Morandi Bridge every day; families on summer vacation, employees on their commute, and truckers ferrying goods from one side of the city to the other.

"Suddenly the bridge came down with everything it was carrying".

Morandi had used a similar technique for other works, including the longer and similarly problematic General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge in Venezuela, completed in 1962.

Private broadcaster Sky TG24 said that a 200-meter section of the Morandi Bridge collapsed Tuesday over an industrial zone, and firefighters told The Associated Press that there are concerns about gas lines.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the thoughts of French people were with the victims and their nearest and dearest, and that France was ready to provide whatever support was necessary.

Genoa, home to half a million people, is located between the sea and the mountains of northwestern Italy.

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The government will also look into stripping Autostrade per l'Italia, a unit of the Atlantia group, of the concession to manage the motorway that included the Morandi Bridge, and imposing financial penalties on the group, Mr Toninelli said.

State radio Wednesday quoted the prefect's office confirming a death toll of 35 and denying some news reports that put it at 38.

"I have gone over this bridge hundreds of times, and I commit to digging and finding out who is responsible for an unacceptable tragedy, because it's not possible that in 2018 you can work and die in these conditions", he said.

"We should ask ourselves whether respecting these (budget) limits is more important than the safety of Italian citizens".

The Italy built in the 1950s and 1960s is in urgent need of renovation.

"Autostrade per l'Italia was not able to fulfill its obligations under the contract regulating management of this infrastructure", Danilo Toninelli said on RAI 1 state TV, adding that he would also seek to levy heavy fines against the company.

Autostrade said the bridge maintenance programme had been based on the results of its regular checks and had also been approved by the transport ministry. "But there will be a time when the cost of maintenance will be higher than a replacement", he told Italian media Primocanale.

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

In a 2016 interview posted online, Antonio Brencich, a University of Genoa professor specialising in reinforced concrete construction, said: "This bridge is usually characterised as a masterpiece of engineering, but in reality it is a failure of engineering".

It is not yet clear what caused the collapse of the Morandi bridge in the Italian city of Genoa, but several explanations have been mooted.

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