Bridge rump must be demolished

Autostrade files seized, ANAC requests documents

(ANSA) - Genoa, August 22 - The rump of the Morandi Bridge that collapsed in Genoa killing 43 on August 14 is dangerous and must be either demolished or made safe as soon as possible, the emergency committee on the disaster said Wednesday.
    The remaining eastern portion of the wrecked bridge is unsafe, according to inspectors led by architect Roberto Ferrazza, the committee said.
    The committee said it had written to the transport and infrastructure ministry and the concessionary, Autostrade per l'Italia, to "initiate the necessary intervention".
    There is an "elevated" degree of corrosion on a key remaining pylon in the bridge, Genoa Prefect Fiamma Spena said on Wednesday.
    Spena said the head of the transport ministry emergency committee had sent a report "flagging an evident state of corrosion of an elevated degree on pylon 10".
    Pylon 10 is the one that is keeping up the eastern rump of the bridge.
    The emergency committee has flagged danger at pylon 10 but "I don't know if we can speak of a risk of (further) collapse," Spena said.
    There were "elevated critical issues" at the pylon, she said.
    The remaining eastern pylon 10 is in worse condition than another pylon that gave way in the collapse, inspectors said Wednesday.
    Pylon 10 shows a level of material decay of four on a five-point scale while pylon nine had deterioration measured at three, they said.
    All that remains of the bridge must be demolished as soon as possible because of the danger it poses, Liguria Governor Giovanni Toti said.
    "I agree with the mayor and I've heard from prosecutor Cozzi several times, we have to aim for the demolition in the shortest time possible of all that remains of the Morandi Bridge, an ugly carcass and an ugly symbol," Toti said.
    "I have sent a notice that could turn into an injunction to be fulfilled by the Autostrade company to proceed in the meantime with making safe and bringing down pylon 10 on the east side," he said.
    Toti said he was awaiting an "immediate safety plan" from Autostrade.
    Police seized files from Autostrade Wednesday relating to a probe into the collapse.
    Design flaws and poor maintenance are suspected in the collapse, which gained headlines worldwide.
    The government is seeking to strip Autostrade of its motorway license in the wake of the disaster.
    Several officials have also said that Autostrade, which was privatised 20 years ago, should be re-nationalised to curb the profit motive and make sure enough money is being spent on maintenance.
    A role for government bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (Savings and Loans Bank) has been touted in recent days by several officials.
    But Industry Minister Giovanni Tria has sniffed at the notion.
    Italy's anti-corruption authority ANAC on Wednesday wrote to Autostrade asking the highway company for documents relating to the maintenance of the bridge.
    It requested planning documents, technical details and information on the contractual process.
    ANAC also asked for reports which Autostrade may have requested from the contractor, Italy's transport ministry.
    ANAC said it was looking at possible disparities between planned investments and investments that were actually made.
    A reported failure to carry out 72.89% of planned road infrastructure intervention concerns investments to boost the Genoa road system and in no way relates to maintenance of the collapsed Morandi Bridge, Autostrade said Wednesday.
    In a letter of clarification to anti-corruption authority ANAC, Autostrade said the data "does not derive from choices taken by the company but is the effect of notable delays on the part of competent institutions".
    The Atlantia board on Wednesday started weighing the impact of the transport ministry's letter to Autostrade per l'Italia seeking to revoke its license for running Italy's highways, the Benetton-controlled holding company said in a statement.
    Atlantia is weighing the letter "with regard to the group's financial instruments," it said.
    The government wants to strip Autostrade of its concessionary license after the bridge collapse. The board also said it was considering the effects of continual statements about it, given that it is quoted on the Milan bourse.
    It also said it fully supported Autostrade's 500-million-euo plan for reconstruction and relief in Genoa.
    Atlantia shares fell another 3.8% Wednesday with 590 million euros in share capital going up in smoke.
    Moody's said it was looking at Atlantia and Autostrada's ratings, as well as that of another unit, Aeroporti di Roma, with an eye to possible downgrades.
    Also on Wednesday, Ligurian regional officials said Serie A players will take the field this weekend wearing 'Genoa in our hearts' shirts.
    The shirts will also be worn by match officials on the second day of play in Italian soccer's top tier, the officials went on to say.
    The initiative of the Lega Serie A will be "a way of remembering the victims of the collapse of the Morandi Bridge and supporting the city of Genoa", they said.
    The phrase will be flanked by a drawing of the collapsed bridge with a heart formed by many smaller hearts representing the people involved.
    President Sergio Mattarella will skip the opening night of the Venice Film festival on August 29 as a sign of mourning for the Genoa bridge collapse and also for the Calabrian flash flood that killed 10, a presidential statement said Wednesday.
    Wishing the 75th Venice fest every success, Mattarella reiterated the importance of the film sector for Italy and confirmed his great appreciation for all those who work in it.
   

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