Three years after the collapse of the Pont de Gêne which left 43 dead, the Italian public prosecutor's office issued its investigation on Thursday.

Between faulty controls, underinvestment and multiple negligence, the conclusions are more than damning for the bridge concessionaire.

On August 14, 2018, the Morandi motorway bridge, located on an essential axis for trade between southern and northern Italy, collapsed, causing dozens of vehicles to fall.

The tragedy has highlighted the poor condition of roads, bridges and railways in Italy where infrastructure suffers from a chronic deficit of maintenance and investment.

Morandi Bridge suffered from the same ailments, according to extracts from the investigation report published in the press

No minimum maintenance intervention in 51 years

“Between the inauguration [of the bridge] in 1967 and the collapse - thus 51 years -, it was not carried out the minimal maintenance interventions to reinforce the stay cables of the pillar number 9”, which sagged today there, observe the magistrates, quoted by the agencies.

Since 1982, they continue, the private concessionaire has financed less than 2% of the 24 million euros devoted to interventions on the structure of the viaduct.

Security checks over the years on the bridge have been "flawed and inadequate".

In particular, the visual checks on the structures were "carried out systematically from the bottom of the bridge, using binoculars or spotting scopes, and not at close range, and were therefore not able to provide reliable information on the situation. the state of the bridge ”, details the public prosecutor.

69 people prosecuted

No less than 69 people are being prosecuted in this case, as well as the companies Autostrade per l'Italia (Aspi), the manager of the bridge, and the engineering company Spea, subsidiaries of Atlantia, controlled for its part at 30, 25% by Edizione, the holding company of the Benetton family.

Most are executives and technicians from both companies, including Atlantia's then CEO Giovanni Castellucci and Spea's former boss Antonino Galata, as well as officials from the Ministry of Infrastructure.

Respondents have three weeks to respond to the findings of the investigators, after which the prosecution can request their referral to trial, or request a dismissal.

Towards a rapid trial

Giancarlo Cancelleri, Secretary of State for Infrastructures in the government of Mario Draghi, said he was amazed at the conclusions of the prosecution on the "total lack of maintenance of the bridge".

"Now we hope to have a speedy trial because we have a commitment to respect with the families of the victims: the names and surnames of those responsible for this tragedy and an assured sentence," he said.

For Egle Possetti, president of the association of victims of the disaster, the investigation uncovered "the shameful maintenance" of the bridge until it collapsed.


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