On Monday, Italy somberly marked the fifth anniversary of the tragic collapse of Genoa’s Morandi Bridge with a moment of silence, accompanied by fervent demands for justice for the 43 lives lost. The catastrophe deemed a result of greed-fueled negligence by authorities, left a scar on the nation’s conscience and infrastructure.
At the commemoration event in Genoa, Infrastructure Minister Matteo Salvini conveyed to the victims’ families, local residents, and officials that the bridge’s collapse wasn’t a consequence of natural forces, but rather the outcome of “greed, of people who didn’t do their jobs.”
The Morandi Bridge’s massive section crumbled during a rainstorm on August 14, 2018, during the peak of Italy’s major summer holiday season, sending vehicles hurtling into the dry riverbed below.
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Last year, 58 individuals faced trial, charged with manslaughter and related offenses. Among them were former executives, technical experts from the firm overseeing Italy’s bridges and highways, and former officials of Salvini’s ministry.
Prosecutors assert that these defendants were aware of the bridge’s vulnerability due to its age and inadequate maintenance practices, which were purportedly influenced by cost-cutting measures. The bridge’s original designer had recommended consistent maintenance to counter the corrosive effects of salty air from the nearby Ligurian Sea.
Addressing the gathered crowd beneath the newly inaugurated replacement span in 2020, Salvini underscored his review of trial documents. While refraining from preempting the trial’s outcome, he emphasized the evident presence of greed and recklessness. “Billions of euros in profits, intended partly for maintenance, were evidently not allocated to this purpose,” Salvini stated.
He further expressed his aspiration for a legislative move that would categorize victims of such public works negligence akin to victims of terrorism or organized crime, in terms of compensation eligibility. Salvini anticipated this legislation to be enacted by next year’s commemorative event.
As church bells tolled and sirens resonated across Genoa, a minute of silence was observed at 11:36 AM, marking the precise moment of the bridge’s collapse. Egle Possetti, a prominent figure within the committee of Morandi victims’ relatives, acknowledged their trust in the justice system while lamenting the discouraging developments witnessed during the trial.
Possetti cited instances of executives and technical experts distancing themselves from responsibility and evidence of a complacent transport ministry. This ministry allegedly relied unquestioningly on a maintenance company, failing in its regulatory role. Possetti voiced her disillusionment, stating, “They toyed with the lives of millions of people, without the minimal civic sense to speak up.”
The Morandi Bridge collapse remains one of the most deadly incidents in recent Italian history. The tragedy has underscored the nation’s dilapidated transportation infrastructure, with other bridge and highway failures serving as poignant reminders.
Salvini acknowledged the pressing need for attention to Italy’s aging transportation infrastructure, as his ministry shoulders the responsibility of 21,000 bridges and viaducts nationwide, aiming to rectify “decades of inattention.”
In remembrance of the victims and as a call for accountability, Italy stood united in honoring those who perished and vowing to prevent such negligence from recurring in the future.
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