Mattarella calls for justice and responsibility amid protracted trial into bridge's fatal collapse in 2018.
Italy on Monday marks the fifth anniversary of the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in the north-west city of Genoa in a disaster that claimed the lives of 43 people.
The names of the 43 victims will be projected in Piazza De Ferrari, the city's main square, and the governor of the Liguria region Giovanni Toti will attend a ceremony of commemoration.
Italy's president Sergio Mattarella, referring to the protracted court trial over the bridge's fatal collapse, said on Monday: "The passage of time does not mitigate the weight of responsibility for what happened", stressing that there is a "responsibility to do justice".
In 2022, 59 people were put on trial, mainly former officials and technicians, for charges ranging from multiple manslaughter to making false statements about the safety of the bridge which had been plagued with structural problems for years.
During a heavy rainstorm on the morning of 14 August 2018, the day before Italy's Ferragosto holiday, a 210-metre section of the bridge collapsed suddenly, hurling dozens of vehicles onto the railway tracks 45 metres below.
On this day five years ago the #PonteMorandi bridge in Genoa collapsed in a disaster that killed 43 people. Less than a year later the remains of the bridge were blown up and it was replaced with a new structure that opened in 2020. #14agosto pic.twitter.com/wHjGf35x9k— Wanted in Rome (@wantedinrome) August 14, 2023
The disaster, one of the worst in modern Italian history, resulted in a major debate about Italy's ageing road infrastructure, including Genoa's Viadotto Polcevera which was inaugurated in 1967 and became known as Ponte Morandi after its structural designer, the engineer Riccardo Morandi.
In June 2019, some 10 months after the collapse, the remains of the original bridge was demolished and work got underway on a new structure.
Teams of 500 construction workers worked around the clock, including during Italy's nationwide covid lockdown, to complete the Ponte di Genova in record time.
400 #vigilidelfuoco, tra #USAR, #cinofili, #saf, #NBCR, mobilitati in poche ore per operare in uno scenario complesso: il #14agosto di 5 anni fa il crollo del #ponteMorandi, 43 le vittime, tante le persone salvate nelle auto sopra e sotto le macerie#pernondimenticare pic.twitter.com/w1UCK626dm
— Vigili del Fuoco (@vigilidelfuoco) August 14, 2023
The new high-tech bridge was designed by celebrated Italian architect and Geona native Renzo Piano whose curved design evokes a ship's hull in tribute to the local maritime history.
During a ceremony to mark the placement of the final section of the new bridge in April 2020, then Italian premier Giuseppe Conte said the structure "symbolises an Italy that knows how to pick itself up, roll up its sleeves, and doesn’t allow itself to be defeated.”
The viaduct, which spans about one kilometre, was built by a consortium comprising inspection and engineering services group RINA, construction giant Salini Impregilo and shipbuilder Fincantieri.
Ponte di Genova was inaugurated on 3 August 2020, in a ceremony attended by President Mattarella, before opening to traffic two days later.
Photo Giuseppe Conte - Twitter
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