Offbeat: Italy. Two years after the murderous collapse, the new Genoa bridge ready to be inaugurated

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Réputée lente dans l'exécution des travaux publics, l'Italie a pourtant mis les bouchées doubles et achevé le pont en avril dernier. © Marco BERTORELLO / AFP Reputed to be slow in carrying out public works, Italy nevertheless worked hard and completed the bridge in April latest.

Two years after the collapse of the Genoa Viaduct, which claimed the lives of 43 people, a new bridge will be inaugurated, in the absence of the families of the victims.

Almost two years to the day after the collapse of the Genoa bridge (northeast) which left 43 dead in August 2018 , the Italy inaugurates a new viaduct on Monday, but without the families of the victims who judge displaced ceremonies.

The President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella will be the first to officially cross the new bridge by car, , a work of the famous architect Renzo Piano, who offered his services free of charge after the tragedy. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, among others, will deliver a speech and the Air Force acrobatic patrol will fly over the city at around 4.30 p.m. GMT, the official inauguration time.

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Le viaduc de Gênes s'était effondré le 14 août 2018, causant la mort de 43 personnes. © VALERY HACHE / AFP The Genoa viaduct collapsed on August 14, 2018, causing the death of 43 people.

An absence, however, will weigh heavily on the ceremony: that of the families of the victims who refuse to participate and will meet ten days later to mark the second anniversary of the tragedy.

"We will not be present at the inauguration, we do not want the tragedy to end in carnival" , declared Egle Possetti, representative of the Committee of the relatives of the victims, who lost in this tragedy her sister, her beau -brother and two nephews. "You can have a big party like this if the bridge was destroyed because it was old, a new one was built and no one died" , he added.

Le nouveau pont est une une oeuvre de l'architecte Renzo Piano, lequel a proposé ses services gratuitement après la tragédie. © Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP The new bridge is a work of architect Renzo Piano, who offered his services free of charge after the tragedy.

On August 14, 2018, in heavy rain, the Genoa viaduct or Morandi motorway bridge, named after the engineer who designed it, an essential axis for trade with France but also for local journeys, had collapsed, causing in its fall dozens of vehicles, on the road to vacation or work. Among the 43 victims were four children.

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Since then, Italy, reputed to be the champion of slowness in the execution of public works, has worked hard and completed the bridge in April, to the point where we speak today in the peninsula of the "model of Genoa" .

Mr. Conte did not hesitate to call him on Sunday, "symbol of an Italy which is recovering" .

The last section of the bridge, approximately 1 km long, was laid at the end of April and since the finishing works and safety tests have followed one another to allow its final inauguration.

About ten days ago, 56 trucks weighing 44 tonnes each, for a total of around 2,500 tonnes, tested the strength of the bridge.

The bridge is expected to be open to traffic on August 4 or 5 after clearing the platform and props set up for the official opening.

A bridge "son of a tragedy"

The building was built by a group of several Italian companies from a project by Renzo Piano, the famous Italian architect born in Genoa, who designed the Center Pompidou and the new courthouse in Paris.

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White and streamlined, it has the shape of a boat hull, a tribute to the city's maritime history. "It is a bridge […] which does its work in silence by uniting the two sides of a valley, it is also an urban bridge because the valley is in the city but it is also the son of a tragedy" , recently said Piano.

The collapse of this bridge gave rise to a bitter legal battle, which is still ongoing.

In the dock: many people and companies, but the finger is pointed especially at Autostrade per Italia (Aspi), manager of this road viaduct and whose main shareholder is the Benetton family across Atlantia.

Following a standoff with the government in Rome which began the day after the fall of the bridge and with an investigation still underway but having highlighted serious shortcomings in the maintenance of the bridge, the Benetton family finally agreed two weeks ago to exit Italian highways.

The preliminary investigation is expected to be completed in October, but the actual court case is due to start early next year, Possetti said.

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