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Genoa authorities ask Autostrade, Fincantieri to rebuild bridge

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Genoa authorities ask Autostrade, Fincantieri to rebuild bridge
Autostrade per l'Italia Chief Executive Giovanni Castellucci attends a news conference about the collapsed Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy August 18, 2018. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca   -   Copyright  MASSIMO PINCA(Reuters)
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GENOA (Reuters) – The authorities in Genoa have asked motorway group Autostrade to team up with state-controlled Fincantieri <FCT.MI> to help rebuild a bridge that collapsed last month in the port city, killing 43 people.

Autostrade, part of infrastructure group Atlantia <ATL.MI>, operated the 50-year-old bridge and its involvement in the rebuilding could soothe public anger at the toll-road group.

Famed architect Renzo Piano has offered to donate project designs for a new viaduct in his hometown.

“This new bridge will have to last a thousand years. It will be made in steel and it should be simple, frugal but not banal,” Piano said after attending a meeting with the CEOs of the two companies and local politicians.

“We have asked Autostrade to cooperate with Fincantieri, which is part of the local community, on demolishing and rebuilding the bridge,” Liguria region governor Giovanni Toti said at the end of Friday’s meeting.

“We want to drive our cars on the new bridge from October 2019,” Genoa major Marco Bucci said.

The deadly bridge collapse sparked public outrage in Italy. Rome’s anti-establishment government has piled blame on Autostrade, which runs the A10 motorway that links Genoa to the French border.

Autostrade’s top executives, including CEO Giovanni Castellucci, are among 20 people being investigated for alleged manslaughter after the disaster.

Autostrade and its sister engineering company Spea are also under investigation. Under Italian law, companies are also held responsible for their employees’ actions.

“We feel responsible for managing an infrastructure that collapsed, causing a huge disaster and pain … but being guilty requires awareness of the causes, which will have to be ascertained,” Castellucci told Italian daily La Stampa.

Several Transport Ministry officials are also being probed.

The government has promised to revoke the entire motorway concessions operated in Italy by Autostrade, which is controlled by the Benetton family, saying the company reaped extra profits from the motorway business.

“We have started a huge work on concessions … we will review them one-by-one,” Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said in an interview published in Corriere della Sera.

“Autostrade is only the tip of the iceberg … there are also water, telecommunications and television,” he said without elaborating.

(Reporting by Paola Balsomini and Francesca Landini; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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