Italy blames highway company for bridge collapse
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 8/16/18, 12:10 pm
The Italian government accused a highway company of putting financial interests before safety standards after a bridge collapsed in Genoa, killing at least 38 people and injured 16 others. A portion of the bridge that links heavily traveled highways leading to France and Milan collapsed Tuesday, trapping some drivers beneath the rubble. Genoa Prosecutor Francesco Cozzi said an investigation into the incident will focus on design flaws and inadequate maintenance.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio accused Atlantia, the holding company of highway contractor Autostrade per l’Italia, of retaining profits “instead of investing money for maintenance.” Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said the government would not wait until the investigation is complete before it revokes the company’s concession, or grant, to service public roads.
On Thursday, Atlantia’s share price on the Italian market dropped 22 percent. The company released a statement before the markets opened noting the cause of the bridge collapse remains unknown and underlining the conditions the government must fulfill to revoke its concession. Di Maio called the statement shameful. “They could have at least spared a word for the victims on this day, instead of thinking yet again of profits, yet again of market numbers,” he said.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Thursday said the number of dead will increase as responders continue with search and rescue efforts. Italy will hold a state funeral for the dead on Saturday.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.