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$20M Italian Bridge Collapses Within Days of Opening

13 Janvier 2015 - Telegraph Media

$20M Italian Bridge Collapses Within Days of Opening

A multi-million euro viaduct has collapsed in Sicily less than two weeks after it opened - provoking a political outcry.

The Scorciavacche viaduct is near Mezzojuso, 25 miles from Palermo on a stretch of highway that runs between the island capital and Agrigento.

It has buckled dramatically in the past few days. The construction company responsible for the project, Anas, said the collapse was due to “subsidence”.

The viaduct was completed three months ahead of schedule when it opened on December 23. The viaduct is part of an ongoing road works project worth more than €200 million the company said.

The incident drew an angry response from Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi who tweeted he wanted to know who was responsible saying “they will pay everything”.

Sicilian politician Paolo Caracausi from the centre-left Italy of Values Party described the collpase as “a scandal”.

While four people reported minor injuries, no vehicles were on the bridge at the time it buckled as it had been closed to traffic after the company picked up signs of subsidence on December 30.

“Who has made this mistake will pay, both those who built and those who inspected it,” transport minister Maurizio Lupi tweeted.

But Anas, which boasts more than 80 years’ experience in road and highway construction insisted the media had exaggerated what had happened - and the damage.

It said Italian media reports saying the viaduct accounted for €13 million of the project were incorrect and insisted 350-metre viaduct was worth only €7 million  of the project’s total.

“Despite certain headlines and misinterpreted photos that have been exchanged, no viaduct has collapsed,” Anas president Pietro Ciucci said in a statement.

“The Scorciavacche viaducts have not suffered any damage and are intact. There is no risk to users.”

Local prosecutors have launched an investigation and the company has also begun an internal inquiry.

“What happened is very serious,” said Alfredo Morvillo, chief prosecutor, from Termini Imerese. “Now we have to see what happened, but for now I can only speculate.”

This is not the first time a bridge has collapsed in Sicily.

In July last year, the Petrusa bridge, which was part of a highway in the region near Agrigento, collapsed while three cars were travelling across it.

 

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