August 16, 2018 / 8:23 PM / 10 months ago

Italy launches investigation against Atlantia unit over bridge collapse

MILAN, Aug 16 (Reuters) - The Italian government on Thursday launched an investigation into toll-road operator Autostrade per l’Italia following the collapse of a bridge in Genoa which claimed at least 38 lives.

In a statement, the Ministry of Transport said it had given the company 15 days to show it had previously met all its contractual obligations to ensure the proper functioning of the bridge and avoid accidents.

If the justifications provided by the company, a unit of infrastructure group Atlantia, were judged inadequate Rome would consider it a breach of the terms of the group’s toll-road concession.

A section of the bridge gave way on Tuesday in busy lunchtime traffic, plunging dozens of vehicles 50 metres below.

The Transport Ministry said it wanted the Atlantia unit to immediately commit to rebuilding the bridge at its own expense and within a limited amount of time.

It also called on the company to foot the bill for work to restore the buildings and areas damaged by the accident.

Atlantia, controlled by the Benetton family, owns around 88 percent of Italy’s biggest toll-road concessionary. (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes Editing by Alison Williams)

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