The Italian government pledged to carry out a full investigation into what caused a bridge to collapse in Genoa on Tuesday, causing 35 deaths and leaving scores injured.
An 80-metre section of the Morandi bridge on the A10 motorway came down in an industrial area of the city during a storm at about 11:30 a.m.
Government officials hurried to the scene, including Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte who promised to ensure that proper maintenance checks are carried out on all critical infrastructure.
“We can’t allow similar tragedies to happen again,” he told Italian broadcaster Rai.
Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said responsibility for maintenance was shared among the region, local authorities, and the state-owned highway company Anas. “We will verify that [maintenance checks] have been done. If there is even just one responsible, he must pay,” Toninelli said.
However, Toninelli’s party, the 5Star Movement, was criticized in the aftermath of the collapse for including the Morandi bridge on a list of infrastructure projects to which planned improvements were at risk of being scrapped “if the costs outweigh the benefits.”
A page on the 5Stars website which described concerns about structural problems with the bridge as a “children’s tale” was removed (a screenshot is here).
Matteo Salvini, interior minister and leader of the far-right League, said many schools, hospitals and highways in Italy need maintenance but claimed work is often impeded by European spending. He said “the next budget will have to put Italians’ safety first … [spending] limits will come afterwards.”