Italy PM says ‘serious negligence’ found in bridge collapse

FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte holds a news conference at the end of the European Union leaders summit dominated by Brexit, in Brussels, Belgium October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo

An investigation by Italy’s transport ministry into the deadly collapse of a bridge operated by Atlantia has shown “serious and unforgivable acts of negligence”, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was quoted as saying on Monday.

Conte told la Repubblica newspaper in an interview the government was nearing a decision on whether to revoke Atlantia’s motorway concession after a highway bridge collapsed in August 2018 killing 43 people in the city of Genoa.

“Clearly such a decision must be founded on a technical and juridical assessment of whether the concessionaire breached its obligations,” Conte said.

“At the stage of the analysis we have reached, I can say that it is evident someone made mistakes and is responsible for serious and unforgivable acts of negligence.”

Atlantia’s Autostrade, which manages Italy’s biggest motorway network, has denied any wrongdoing and said it always acted in compliance with its obligations. It was not immediately possible to reach a company representative for comment.

Autostrade is one of 26 motorway operators in Italy.

Autostrade CEO Roberto Tomasi said in a newspaper interview on Saturday that the company was at risk of bankruptcy if it was stripped of its motorway licence without adequate compensation.