35 killed in Italy motorway bridge collapse

A general view of rescuers at the scene of the collapsed Morandi motorway bridge in the northwestern city of Genoa

"You do the maths - over 30 vehicles fell when the bridge crumbled and we haven't got to them all so there will be more", Luca Cari, the firefighters' spokesman, told The Times at the scene.

A more than 200-metre stretch of the Morandi bridge, which connects Genoa with southern France, collapsed on Tuesday at 11.50am during a heavy storm, falling 45 metres onto a warehouse, train tracks and a river bed after one of the viaduct's 90 metre high supporting towers toppled over.

"We have one of the biggest dealers in Europe that tells us that the bridge was safe and there was [no way] to imagine the collapse", Di Maio wrote.

Danilo Toninelli, the infrastructures and transports minister, said on Wednesday the collapse was "unacceptable" and that if negligence was a factor "whoever made a mistake must pay".

Ingegneri.info said that bridges like the Morandi viaduct should have a lifespan of at least a century, but the structure has been the subject of major maintenance work in the years after its completion, in particular to fix cracks and combat degradation of the concrete.

But the political anger generated by Tuesday's tragedy in Genoa, in which at least 39 people died, could instead end up piling even more financial pressure on the state - from nervous holders of its 2 trillion euros ($2.3 trillion) in bonds.

"I've had some time to calm down and am now trying to understand what happened, but my wife and our friends are very shocked", Pierami said.

Italy's government said it meant to revoke the company's contract and hit it with a fine of 150 million euros ($170 million).

Every person goes on that bridge every day, some people to go to work, we go to the training ground and it's a crying shame that in 2018 these things can still happen.

It has been riddled with structural problems since its construction, which has led to expensive maintenance and severe criticism from engineering experts.

Italy's deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, said in a Facebook post on August 15, "Those responsible for the tragedy in Genoa have a name and a surname, and they're called Autostrade per l'Italia". "It's been a lifetime that we've known there were problems".

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But the head of the civil protection agency, Angelo Borrelli, said he was not aware that any maintenance work was being done on the bridge.

Salvini, who is co-deputy prime minister and leader of the nationalist League party in the new coalition government, vowed to hold those responsible for the disaster accountable.

Autostrade per l'Italia said in 2011 the bridge had been suffering from degradation due to heavy traffic.

"The causes for the collapse will be the subject of an in-depth analysis as soon as it is possible to safely access the site".

The Italian fire service said that the bridge, located in an industrial area in the west of the city, collapsed at around noon (1000 GMT).

Twitter/Google Maps/Business InsiderWhat the Morandi Bridge looked like before and after the collapse.

In its design, Morandi used a patented prestressed reinforced concrete technology, which later proved problematic.

Autostrade's top two officials have no plans to resign, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Asked if authorities had been given any warning that the bridge - a key link between two major highways, one headed toward France and the other to Milan - could be unsafe, Cozzi indicated that no serious safety concerns had reached his office before the collapse.

In a statement on its website on Tuesday, the Genoa Mayor's office announced that traffic on some streets around the Morandi Bridge would be restricted.

"I saw the green lorry in front of me stop and then reverse so I stopped too, locked the truck and ran", he told AFP.

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