December 18, 2018 / 6:31 PM / 6 months ago

Salini, Fincantieri to rebuild Italian bridge after deadly collapse

GENOA, Italy /MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s biggest builder Salini Impregilo and shipbuilder Fincantieri have won the contract to rebuild a bridge that collapsed in August, killing 43 people, in the port city of Genoa.

FILE PHOTO: Firefighter helicopter flies over the collapsed Morandi Bridge in the port city of Genoa, Italy August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

The project will cost 202 million euros ($230 million)- excluding value added tax - and be completed in 12 months, Marco Bucci, the special commissioner appointed by the government to oversee the reconstruction, said on Tuesday, confirming what sources told Reuters earlier in the day.

The concrete bridge, the responsibility of infrastructure group Atlantia’s unit Autostrade per l’Italia, collapsed on Aug. 14, severing part of a motorway linking Genoa with southern France.

That put at risk the activity of the port, which last year accounted for 1.5 percent of Italy’s gross domestic product.

“Twelve months to help re-launch Genoa ... that is the dream that we are hoping to give the Genoese before Christmas in memory of the victims of this terrible tragedy,” said Pietro Salini, chief executive of Salini Impregilo.

Public works will kick start the economy and create jobs again, Salini added.

Famed Genoa-born architect Renzo Piano, who donated a proposal for the new viaduct, has agreed to supervise the works, Bucci, who is also the mayor of Genoa, said during a news conference.

The government blamed Autostrade for the disaster and decided to exclude the business from the reconstruction project, even though it will have to pay for it.

Autostrade and some of its top managers are under investigation for the collapse. Atlantia, controlled by the Benetton family, has put aside 350 million euros to cover the estimated cost of rebuilding.

“We promised the families of the victims that Autostrade would not even place a stone and that’s the case,” Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said in Rome.

Autostrade is planning to file a legal challenge against the government decree that excludes it from rebuilding the viaduct.

Italferr, a unit of state-owned railway company Ferrovie dello Stato, will also be involved in the project, the transport ministry said in a statement.

Reporting by Paola Balsomini; Writing by Francesca Landini; Editing by Mark Potter

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