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Italy's transport minister announces audit on old infrastructure

Federico Scoppa, AFP | A rescuer on a crane inspects the rubble and wreckage by the Morandi motorway bridge after a section collapsed in Genoa on August 14, 2018. FRANCE 24 report by Peter O'Brien.

Italy’s transport minister said on Wednesday that the government would conduct a safety audit on ageing bridges and tunnels across the country, after the Morandi Bridge in Genoa collapsed on Tuesday, killing at least 35 people.

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Danilo Toninelli also called for senior managers at the company operating the bridge to resign.

"The top management of Autostrade per l'Italia must step down first of all," Toninelli said in a Facebook post.

The government will also look into stripping Autostrade per l'Italia, a unit of the Atlantia group, of the concession to manage the motorway that included the Morandi Bridge, and imposing financial penalties on the group.

Atlantia and Autostrade per l'Italia could not immediately be reached for comment

The Morandi Bridge was built in the 1960s on the A10 toll motorway connecting Genoa to the French border.

"Autostrade per l'Italia was not able to fulfill its obligations under the contract regulating management of this infrastructure," Toninelli said on RAI 1 state television.

"I have given a mandate to my ministry to start all proceedings to apply the agreement, that is, to revoke the concession from these companies and seek significant sanctions which can reach up to 150 million euros based on the terms of the contract."

Autostrade per l’Italia said Tuesday that major renovations had been carried out on the bridge in 2016. The company’s director, Stefano Marigliani, referred to the disaster as “unforeseeable”, insisting that the bridge had been under “constant inspection” and that “there was no reason to think that it was dangerous”.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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