New Genoa bridge to be inaugurated, two years after disaster

Collapse of the Morandi bridge claimed 43 lives

(ANSA) - ROME, 03 AGO - President Sergio Mattarella and Premier Giuseppe Conte on Monday are inaugurating Genoa's new viaduct, two years after its predecessor, the Morandi bridge, collapsed in a disaster that claimed 43 lives.
    The names of the victims will be read out at the inauguration ceremony and three minutes of silence will be observed in mourning.
    Genoa Mayor Marco Bucci, who was also the extraordinary commissioner for the construction of the new bridge, Liguria Governor Giovanni Toti and the bridge's designer, architect Renzo Piano, are also attending the ceremony.
    Piano, a Genoa native, created the design for the new bridge for free as a gift to the city.
    Conte described the rapidly constructed viaduct as "a symbol of the new Italy that is getting back up".
    Toti stressed that Monday's ceremony is "not a celebration - our thoughts should de devoted to the dead".
    The new structure has been named the Genoa San Giorgio Bridge.
    It features sail-like structures, to reflect the northwestern port city's rich maritime heritage.
    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.
    The committee representing the families of the 43 people who died when the Morandi bridge collapsed said in June that they would not attend the inauguration.
    "We are honoured that our victims, who deserve a place in the front row, will be named during the ceremony," a statement said.
    "But we will not participate in the inauguration ceremony as a committee. That moment, at that place, cannot be part of us".
    Victims' relatives have criticised the decision to allow ASPI to manage the new bridge. (ANSA).


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