Trial sought over Italy’s bridge collapse that killed 43

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ROME (AP) — Prosecutors in Genoa on Friday formally requested a trial for defendants charged with multiple manslaughter over the 2018 collapse of a highway bridge in the city that killed 43 people.

State TV and other Italian media said the prosecutors want 59 people to be tried. The defendants include some former top executives of Austrade per l’Italia, the company managing many of Italy’s highways and bridges.

The northwestern port city’s Morandi Bridge broke apart during a rainstorm, sending cars and trucks plunging into a dry riverbed on the eve of Italy’s biggest summer holiday, when roads are packed with travelers.

Former executives of the maintenance company which did work on the bridge as well as officials from Italy’s transport ministry are also among those who prosecutors want to be tried, state TV’s RaiNews24 said.

A judge will conduct hearings to decide whether to order a trial. Those hearings are expected to start sometime after this summer.

In their indictment request, prosecutors argued that some of the defendants were aware that the bridge which was built in the 1960s was at risk of collapse. They said that corners were cut on maintenance to save money.

The bridge’s designer had recommended continual upkeep to remove rust, especially due to the corrosive effect of sea air as well as pollution’s toll on concrete.

Italy’s president has insisted that a demand for justice by the victims’ families be honored.

Genoa daily Il Secolo XIX said prosecutors are also want defendants to reimburse the investigation’s costs, including 2 million euros ($2.4 million) to develop software capable of handling information gleaned from thousands of files sequestered by investigators.

In 2020, the then-government of Italy forged a deal in which the Benetton fashion family agreed to exit Autostrade per l’Italia.

Genoa last summer inaugurated a replacement bridge which connects key highways. The span, designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, a Genoa native, features 43 lamps in memory of the victims.

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