Italians mourn for the victims of the Morandi Bridge collapse in Genoa, as they call for an investigation into the tragedy.
The Genoan bridge collapsed on Aug. 14 at around 12 p.m. bringing down 30-35 cars and three large trucks, killing many people, ANSA reported.
At least 39 people have died, including a 10-year-old, and another 16 people injured in the tragedy.
Eyewitnesses said that the bridge collapsed after it was struck by lightning. Pietro M., one of the witnesses, said “It was just after 11:30 when we saw the lighting bolt hit the bridge and we saw the bridge go down,” ANSA reported.
The Italian company highways company Autostrade per l’Italia said they would analyze the cause of the collapse as soon as it is safe enough to do so, Al Jazeera reported.
“Now is the time for a common commitment in order to face the emergency, assist the wounded, support those who are mourning,” President Sergio Mattarella stated in an announcement.
“Then a serious investigation into the causes of what happened [is needed]. No authority can evade full responsibility,” he said.
Could the Collapse Have Been Prevented?
According to Italian news outlet La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, a 2011 report by Autostrade said that the Morandi Bridge that collapsed was bound to suffer decay over time.
It said that the amount of traffic crossing the bridge caused ”intense decay” on the bridge on a daily basis. That’s why the bridge has been under maintenance for several years. The half mile bridge was constructed in 1967.
The Genoa city council held a public hearing back in 2012 that discussed the state of the bridge.
Giovanni Calvini, the local president of the General Confederation of Italian Industry, said at the time: “When in 10 years the Morandi Bridge will collapse, and all of us will have to be stuck in traffic for hours, we will remember the names of those who now say ‘no’ [to the expansion],” local media reported.
The suggestion for an expansion of the freeway was made to take the pressure off the old Genoan bridge and reduce the intensity of the decay.
Lilli Lauro, who was a Municipal Councilor at the time and now Regional Councilor of Liguria, had supported Calvini’s idea for the expansion of the freeway.
Lauro said that the time would come when the city’s infrastructure failed, and if it came to that, the city would remember who was responsible for the poor state of affairs.
Paolo Putti, an official of the Five Star Movement political party, said he decided against the freeway expansion because in 10 years time, people in the community and entrepreneurs would be asking why he squandered 5 billion Euros [on the bridge]. He added that Autostrade had advised that the Morandi Bridge would stand for another 100 years.
An administrator of Autostrade told media that the doubts [about the bridge’s integrity] were due to the inherent nature in immature democracies for the strong rights of a few elite to prevail against the collective interests of the many.
In 2013, the Five Star Movement’s website called the potential collapse of the bridge a ‘fairy tail.’ The Five Star activists were opposed to the expansion of the freeway. The webpage has now been removed, factnew.com reported.