Italy threatens to act for the dead on the bridges

An 80-meter-long stretch of the bridge, part of a motorway linking the port city of Genoa with the south of France, collapsed in heavy traffic at lunchtime on Tuesday, sending dozens of vehicles free-falling.

Autostrade per l’Italia, part of the Atlantia international toll road group, listed in Milan and owned by the Italian Benetton family, operated the motorway. It says it has carried out regular and thorough safety checks on the 1.2 km long viaduct, which was completed in 1967 and overhauled two years ago.

At the scene of the disaster, cranes moved pieces of rubble as rescue teams searched for survivors. Genoa’s chief prosecutor, Francesco Cozzi, said 10-20 people are still missing.

“We can go on for another 48 hours in the hope of still being able to find someone,” said Pietro Cosola, technical director who oversaw the removal of the rubble.

The government rounded up to Autostrade, saying it could revoke the concession as it did not guarantee the safety of the viaduct, although investigators have yet to identify the exact cause of the collapse.

“The options we are considering are total revocation, revocation of section A10 alone or a fine, but a fine of 150 million euros ($ 235 million) is too low,” Deputy Transport Minister Edoardo Rixi told Reuters. .

On the basis of the Autostrade concession, a fine of up to 150 million euros can be imposed.

Atlantia shares fell by as much as 25% at one point after being reported down in pre-opening trade by up to 50%.

A government source suggested that Italy could try to fine Autostrade rather than withdraw its concession because the latter could involve a lengthy legal fight and risk the government being sentenced to pay the company compensation.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has declared a state of emergency for Genoa, one of the busiest ports in Italy, whose main land corridor with France has effectively been interrupted.

Autostrade stated that it relied on world-leading experts for the tests and inspections on the bridge and that these checks have provided reassuring results.

Saturday will be a national day of mourning to coincide with the funeral of the victims.

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