Genoa replacement bridge inaugurated despite boycott by victims' families

August 03, 2020

Two years after a bridge collapse killed 43 people in Italy, a replacement bridge has been inaugurated – but families of the victims boycotted the event.

A stretch of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa collapsed on 14 August 2018 during a torrential rainstorm, sending cars and trucks crashing into the dry riverbed below.

The new structure was put up following round-the-clock construction, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monday's ceremony for the new San Giorgio Bridge started with the reading out of the names of the dead.

"We are suspended between grief" over the tragedy and "pride for the construction of the new bridge", its renowned architect, Renzo Piano, said in a speech at the ceremony.

The victims' families agreed to meet Italy's President Sergio Mattarella privately, but announced they were skipping the actual ceremony.

The families are unhappy that the company which maintained the old bridge will be running the new structure for a while, despite poor maintenance being investigated as a possible cause of the collapse.

Firefighters who worked to extract survivors and bodies from tonnes of twisted metal also boycotted the ceremony in solidarity with the families, according to Sky TG24.

Egle Possetti, who leads an association of the bridge victims' families, said: "No one can give us back our dead".

Ms Possetti, who lost a sister and other family members in the tragedy, said she hoped the attention would stay focused on the ongoing criminal investigation into the collapse.

Mayor Marco Bucci also dedicated a few words to those who lost loved ones in the collapse, saying: "Our message to them is very simple. This must never happen again."

Nine Italian Air Force jets flew in formation over the bridge to mark the inauguration, trailing smoke in the red, white and green colours of the country's flag.

Prosecutors are investigating what caused Morandi Bridge to collapse and if proper maintenance was carried out consistently.

Riccardo Morandi, the engineer who designed the bridge which was built in the 1960s, had recommended continual maintenance of the structure due to the corrosive effect of sea air in the port city and pollution.

Traffic will start crossing the new San Giorgio Bridge, named after St George, a saint popular in Genoa, on Wednesday.

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