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Italy declares 12-month state of emergency over collapsed bridge

Published:Wednesday | August 15, 2018 | 12:46 PM
Rescuers search the crumbled hulk of the collapsed Morandi highway bridge in Genoa, northern Italy, Wednesday, August 15, 2018. (Luca Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

The Italian Cabinet has approved a 12-month state of emergency for Genoa after a key highway bridge collapsed, killing at least 39 people.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte says his government won’t wait until prosecutors finish investigating the deadly Genoa bridge collapse to yank the concession from the main private company that maintains Italy’s highways.

Conte led an emergency Cabinet meeting Wednesday in Genoa, a day after the highway bridge collapsed.

He called the tragedy “unacceptable in a modern society” and vowed to work so similar events won’t happen again.

He said Italy will look for another company to maintain much of the nation’s highway system and will demand “more stringent” rules about maintenance.

Conte said: “we cannot wait for justice” and that “all citizens must travel in safety.”

Conte also called for swift removal of the tons of debris that fell in Genoa to facilitate rail travel and reduce the danger of floods.

Italy’s infrastructure minister says apartment buildings might have to be destroyed because of the Genoa highway bridge collapse.

About 630 people live in apartment buildings practically under or right next to part of the highway bridge that was left standing after Tuesday’s collapse.

By Wednesday, they all had been evacuated by authorities.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Danilo Toninelli said in a Facebook post that lodgings will be found for them.

But he says ultimately their apartments might have to be destroyed.

Toninelli said, after emergency workers removed tons of concrete, steel and vehicle debris, “we must think about the demolition of what remains of Morandi Bridge and houses beneath it.”

He said reconstruction of the key artery should begin “as quickly as possible.”

The highway bridge was a link between two major highways, one going to France and the other to Milan.

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