Autostrade Vows to Rebuild Genoa Bridge but No Apology

19 August 2018

Italian toll-road operator Autostrade per l’Italia pledged on Saturday to rebuild a bridge that collapsed in Genoa this week killing at least 40 people, but its chief executive stopped short of apologising for the disaster.

Autostrade, controlled by infrastructure group Atlantia, manages the section of the A10 motorway linking Genoa to the French border where the 1.1-km-long viaduct gave way in busy lunchtime traffic on Tuesday.

In a news conference in the port city, held only hours after a state funeral for many of the victims, Chief Executive Giovanni Castellucci voiced his deep condolences for the victims’ families but declined to give an unreserved apology.

“Apologies and responsibilities are things that are interconnected. You apologise if you feel you are responsible,” he said, adding that he would wait for official investigators to determine responsibility for the collapse.

Autostrade would set aside around 500 million euros ($572 million) for disaster recovery, including funds for a new bridge and to help bereaved families and people who will have to leave their homes close to the viaduct for the reconstruction, Castellucci said.

He added that, once authorisations were received, it would take eight months for the new bridge to be built, with a “solid and feasible project that will give a prompt answer to the needs of the city”.

The company is under intense fire from Italy’s new anti-establishment government after the disaster, though the transport ministry also has some responsibility for overseeing safety on the country’s privately operated roads.

Castellucci said that the bridge had been “in good health”.

Rome has said Autostrade failed to ensure a safe structure and has begun a legal process with the aim of revoking concessions for Autostrade’s entire Italian toll network, spanning almost 3,000 km (2,000 miles).