Shares in Italy’s Atlantia plunge over Genoa bridge collapse

Frederick Owens
August 18, 2018

Emergency services are still searching the rubble in an operation that could continue for the next 48 hours, but they are not hopeful of finding any survivors.

"We employed the companies and institutes that are world leaders in testing and inspecting based on the best worldwide practices", the company said, adding that it spends more than $1.15 billion per year on road security and maintenance.

The flyover of the A10 motorway, named after the architect who designed it, spanned railway lines, buildings and the Polcevera stream around 45 metres (over 140 feet) below. At one point, Sky TG24 said, residents were temporarily blocked from even returning to their homes briefly to grab essential documents, medicine or other necessities.

Authorities urged the quick removal of tons of debris from a dry river bed so that the rubble doesn't create a makeshift dam if heavy rains fall in the flood-prone city on the Mediterranean.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Thursday demanded that the company offer up to 500 million euros ($570 million) to help families and local government deal with the aftermath of the disaster.

In Paris, France's foreign ministry said three French nationals were among the dead.

This general view taken on August 15, 2018, shows abandoned vehicles on the Morandi motorway bridge after a section collapsed in the north-western Italian city of Genoa.

"When a vehicle overtook me I slowed down".

"The announcement was publicly communicated lacking a specific default notice and without any verification of the material causes of the accident", the firm said in a statement.

Otherwise "none of us would have driven over that highway 20 times a month, as we do", Cozzi said.

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. According to business daily Il Sole, work would have been done to improve two weight-bearing columns that support the bridge - including one that collapsed Tuesday.

When the highway overpass was completed in 1967, it was considered innovative for its use of concrete around its cables.However, traffic levels on it were higher than its designers had envisioned.

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Antonio Brencich of the engineering faculty at the University of Genoa sounded the alarm in 2016, calling the structure an "engineering failure" in an interview with broadcaster Primocanale.

Other engineers, noting the bridge was 51-years-old, said corrosion and decades of wear-and-tear from weather could have been factors in its collapse.

Experts speculated about what caused the bridge, built in the 1960s, to give way during a major rainstorm.

Italian politicians, for their part, were trying to find who to blame for the deadly tragedy.

Premier Giuseppe Conte said earlier Thursday that his government won't wait until prosecutors finish investigating the collapse to withdraw the concession from Atlantia, the main private company that maintains Italy's highways.

A fuming Mr Di Maio said that "while bodies were still being counted" the company was speaking about money it would get from cancelled contracts.

A source close to the matter that Autostrade per l'Italia would hold an extraordinary board meeting next week following the disaster.

He also took aim at operator Autostrade, a unit of Milan-listed Atlantia group, which operated the bridge as part of a stretch of the A10 motorway it manages.

He accused previous governments of turning a blind eye to the state of the country's motorways due to their desire for political contributions.

Autostrade controls 1,876 miles of major Italian roads.

Toninelli, the transport minister, pointed to Italy's aging roads and bridges as he called for the country to invest in its own version of the Marshall Plan to improve infrastructure.

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