New Genoa bridge inaugurated after minutes of silence for 43 victims

Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella and PM Giuseppe Conte on Monday took part in the ceremony for the inauguration of Genoa's new viaduct, two years after its predecessor, the Morandi Bridge, collapsed in a disaster that claimed 43 lives. The national anthem was played, the names of the victims were read out and three minutes of silence were observed in mourning, ANSA reported.

Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci, who was also the extraordinary commissioner for the construction of the new bridge, said in a speech that a disaster of this kind must never happen again. Liguria Governor Giovanni Toti and the bridge's designer, architect Renzo Piano, also addressed the ceremony.

The committee representing the families of the 43 people who died when the Morandi bridge collapsed did not attend the inauguration. They did, however, have a private meeting with Mattarella beforehand. “The pain is not forgotten and solidarity must not stop in any way," Mattarella said. Conte has described the rapidly constructed viaduct named Genoa San Giorgio bridge as "a symbol of the new Italy that is getting back up".

The new steel-and-concrete structure, more than 1 kilometre long and featuring 19 spans, was designed by Genoa-born star architect Renzo Piano. A Genoa native, he created the design for the new bridge for free as a gift to the city.

The deadly collapse of the Morandi Bridge on August 14 2018 has led to a deal whereby the Benetton group will gradually exit Italian motorway management. Benetton's Atlantia holding company will cut its stake in motorway company Autostrade per l'Italia (ASPI) to zero over the coming year. Government bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) will gradually build up a 51% stake in ASPI. ASPI will thus become a publicly controlled company, quoted on the Milan bourse.

The ruling anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) had vowed to eject clothing icons the Benettons from ASPI, which it blamed for an alleged lack of maintenance that allegedly led to the bridge's collapse.

 The government had threatened to strip ASPI of its motorway concessions and has said that threat remains valid if the Benetton family backtracks on the deal. Victims' relatives have criticised the decision to allow ASPI to manage the new bridge.


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