two years after the deadly collapse, the new bridge was inaugurated

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The San Giorgio bridge was flown over Monday by an army patrol and the names of the 43 victims were read in the absence of the families, who denounced a inappropriate ceremony.

Almost two years to the day after the collapse of the Genoa bridge which left 43 people dead in August 2018, Italy inaugurated a new viaduct on Monday, August 3. The San Giorgio bridge was notably flown over by air force acrobatic patrol jets, which released smoke in the colors of the Italian flag. Council President Giuseppe Conte cut the ribbon late in the afternoon, as sirens in the city’s harbor howled and a rainbow appeared in the sky.

Then Giuseppe Conte announced that “43 stars will shine high every night”, as lights were lit at the top of pillars to pay homage to the victims whose names were read aloud. The families, they had refused to participate in the ceremonies and will meet in ten days to mark the second anniversary of the tragedy. “We don’t want the tragedy to end in carnival”, summed up Egle Possetti, representative of the Committee of the relatives of the victims, who lost in this tragedy his sister, his brother-in-law and two nephews.

We could have had a big party like this if the bridge had been destroyed because it was old, a new one had been built and no one had died.Egle Possetti, representative of the Parents of Victims Committee

>> “We forget a little that it is built on the ruins of a disaster”, estimates the mother of a victim

The President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, was the first to officially cross the new bridge by car, designed by Renzo Piano, born in Genoa, and who notably designed the Center Pompidou and the new courthouse in Paris. “We are torn between pain and pride”, commented soberly the architect. The bridge is expected to be open to traffic on Tuesday or Wednesday after clearing the platform and props erected for the official opening.

For two years, Italy, renowned for its 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 “. The last section of the bridge, about a kilometer long, was laid at the end of April. Since then, finishing work and safety tests have followed one another to allow its inauguration. About ten days ago, 56 trucks each weighing 44 tonnes, or some 2,500 tonnes in total, tested the strength of the structure.

The building was built by a consortium of several Italian companies based on the project of Renzo Piano. White and streamlined, it has the shape of the hull of a boat, a tribute to the maritime history of the city. “It is a bridge (…) which does its work in silence, uniting the two sides of a valley, recently said the architect. It is also an urban bridge because the valley is in the city but it is also the son of a tragedy “.

A view of the San Giorgio Bridge during its inauguration in Genoa (Italy), Monday, August 3, 2020 (LUCA ZENNARO / POOL / AFP)

A bitter legal battle began after the collapse of the bridge. The preliminary investigation is expected to be completed in October and the trial is due to begin early next year. Among the accused is the company Autostrade per l’Italia (Aspi), manager of this road viaduct and whose main shareholder is the Benetton family through Atlantia. After a standoff with the government in Rome, the Benetton family finally agreed two weeks ago to exit the Italian highways with a partial nationalization of Aspi.

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