Almost three years of investigation and devastating findings for the concessionaire of the bridge of Genoa. The Italian public prosecutor’s office delivered, Thursday, April 22, its conclusions on the tragedy of the Morandi motorway bridge, which left 43 dead on August 14, 2018. Located on an essential axis for trade between the south and the north of the country, this imposing viaduct had collapsed and had involved in its fall several dozen vehicles.
This tragedy had highlighted the poor condition of roads, bridges and railways in Italy, where infrastructure suffers from a chronic deficit of maintenance and investment. The Morandi Bridge suffered from the same ailments, according to various extracts from the investigation report published in the transalpine press.
“Between the inauguration [du pont], in 1967, and the collapse – fifty-one, so –, minimal maintenance interventions were not carried out to reinforce the stay cables of pillar number 9 [qui s’est affaissé le jour du drame] “, were able to observe the magistrates in charge of the case, whose words were taken up by the press agencies. The latter also indicated that, since 1982, the private concessionaire of the viaduct had financed less than 2% of the 24 million euros devoted to interventions carried out on the structure of the work.
Over the years, the security checks carried out on the bridge itself have been “Incomplete and inadequate”. The visual checks on the structures, in particular, were “Carried out systematically from the bottom of the bridge, using binoculars or spotting scopes, and not up close: they were therefore not able to provide reliable information as to the condition of the bridge”, further details the public prosecutor.
“We hope to have a quick trial”
Sixty-nine people are being prosecuted in this case, along with the company Autostrade per l’Italia (ASPI), manager of the bridge, and the engineering company Spea – both subsidiaries of the Atlantia group, itself controlled at 30.25% by Edizione, the holding company of the Benetton family.
Most of the respondents are executives or technicians employed at the time by ASPI or by Spea. Among them was the then general manager of Atlantia, Giovanni Castellucci, as well as the former boss of Spea, Antonino Galata, and several officials from the ministry of infrastructure.
The defendants have currently three weeks to respond to the conclusions of the investigators, after which the prosecution may request their referral to trial, or request a dismissal.
Giancarlo Cancelleri, Secretary of State for Infrastructure in the government of Mario Draghi, said he was stunned by discovering the conclusions of the prosecution with regard to the “Total absence of bridge maintenance”.
“Now we hope to have a quick 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 a guaranteed sentence. “
For Egle Possetti, president of the Association of victims of the disaster, the investigation has pierced up to date “Shameful maintenance” of the bridge, until it collapsed.