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Watch: Italy opens new Genoa bridge two years after fatal collapse

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The tragedy left 43 people dead.
The tragedy left 43 people dead.   -   Copyright  VALERY HACHE/AFP or licensors
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Almost two years since Italy's Genoa bridge collapsed, killing 43 people, a new structure opened in its place on Monday evening but relatives of victims refused to attend the inauguration ceremony.

The new bridge, a high tech structure with advanced safety mechanisms, designed by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano, was inaugurated at 18:30 CET by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

"From a wound that is slow to heal to the symbol of a new Italy which is recovering," Conte wrote on his Facebook account on Sunday.

Families of the victims have refused to take part and will meet in nine days' time to mark the tragedy's second anniversary.

President Sergio Mattarella was the first to officially cross the new bridge. He said the new structure does not cancel out was happened in the northern Italian city but "on the contrary, I see it, in good part, as a kind of memorial stone that recalls the victims".

Mattarelle also called for "severe, precise, rigorous action to certain responsibility" for the 2018 tragedy.

Traffic will not open until Tuesday or Wednesday.

Bitter legal battle

The Morandi motorway bridge, named after the engineer who designed it, gave way on August 14, 2018, during heavy rain, hurling dozens of cars and several trucks onto railway tracks below.

The tragedy laid bare the country's crumbling infrastructure and gave rise to a bitter legal battle, which is still ongoing.

The Morandi bridge was hailed a marvel of engineering when it opened in 1967, but an investigation into the disaster found it was neglected.

Autostrade, which runs almost half of Italy's motorway network, has been accused of failing to maintain it properly, with allegations of falsified safety reports and in-house pressure to slash maintenance costs.

Atlantia, the parent group of Autostrade, is controlled by the wealthy Benetton family, which finally bowed to pressure last month to relinquish control of its besmirched toll-road operator, which will be nationalised.

Autostrade is under investigation, along with several transport ministry officials, for culpable homicide.

'There is nothing to celebrate'

In a statement released this weekend on social media, the Committee for the Relatives of the Victims of the Morandi Bridge reiterated that it would not attend the inauguration "to respect the victims and their families".

"There is nothing to celebrate in the reconstruction of a bridge that should never have collapsed," it added.

Giovanni Toti, the President of the Liguria region, stressed in a Facebook post released ahead of the ceremony that the 43 victims of the tragedy "are still waiting for justice".

"No bridge will be able to repair the wound that Genoa has suffered," he added.