The Death Toll From Italy's Genoa Bridge Collapse Has Risen to 26

Marco Green
August 16, 2018

Interior Minister and Deputy PM Matteo Salvini said the disaster showed that Italy needed to spend more on infrastructure regardless of European Union budget constraints.

Government officials said of the 39 dead, 37 have been identified.

Italy's transport minister has called on senior managers at the company that operated the collapsed Genoa motorway bridge to resign, as the death toll rose to at least 35.

Firefighters and rescue workers stand at the site of a collapsed Morandi Bridge in the port city of Genoa, Italy, Aug. 15, 2018.

The Italian government has declared two days of mourning. "People are in shock".

Search operations are continuing and rescuers have spent the past few nights digging through mountains of crushed concrete.

The number of people who are reportedly missing ranges from four to 12.

Debris also must be cleared from railroad tracks, a vital link especially now that Genoa is largely cut in half by the loss of such a key artery, Premier Giuseppe Conte said. "The risk of collapses is underestimated, the works built at that time are coming to an age when they are at risk". "It's been a lifetime that we've known there were problems". It is in continual maintenance.

"In the 90s they added some reinforcements on one part, but also underneath you can see rust".

"In the last five years (2012-2017) the company's investment in the security, maintenance and strengthening of the network has been over one billion euros a year", it said.

The tragedy has focused anger on the structural problems that have dogged the decades-old bridge and the private sector firm Autostrade per l'Italia, which is now in charge of operating and maintaining swathes of the country's motorways.

"I'm following with the utmost apprehension what is happening in Genoa and what looks like it could be an huge tragedy", Transport and Infrastructure minister Danilo Toninelli said on Twitter.

A source close to the matter said Autostrade per l'Italia would hold an extraordinary board meeting next week following the disaster. "If they can't manage the motorways, then the state will do it". The collapse occurred in an industrial area.

Inside their auto, rescuers found Samuel with his favourite football decorated with Spider-Man images. The bridge was constantly monitored, even more than was foreseen by the law.

A €20 million (£17.8 million) upgrade project to the bridge had already been approved, with public bids for the work to be submitted by September.

The Morandi Bridge relied on stay-cables, which are embedded in concrete, making them hard to inspect for corrosion.

The aging bridge, designed by the renowned Italian engineer Riccardo Morandi, was fraught with "structural doubts".

On Tuesday specialist engineering website Ingegneri.info published a piece that highlighted how the bridge had always presented "structural doubts", calling it "a tragedy waiting to happen".

"It was affected by serious corrosion problems related to the technology that Morandi himself had patented, which he had not used anymore, and which proved to be disastrous", Brencich told Italian daily La Repubblica.

Ingegneri.info said that bridges like the Morandi viaduct should have a lifespan of at least a century, but the structure has been the subject of major maintenance work in the years after its completion, in particular to fix cracks and combat degradation of the concrete. "This government will do everything to prevent such tragedies from happening again".

Toninelli echoed these concerns, saying that many structures in Italy suffer from insufficient safety checks.

Genoa Prosecutor Francesco Cozzi told reporters the investigation into the collapse was focused on human causes, specifically the possibility of inadequate maintenance or a design flaw in the bridge's construction.

He added that his administration would withdraw the concession from Autostrade, the private company responsible for the maintenance of the Morandi Bridge that collapsed on Tuesday.

Italy's CNR civil engineering society called for a "Marshall Plan" to fix or replace tens of thousands of Italian bridges and viaducts built in the post-war period.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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