Warnings over Genoa bridge collapse made since 2012

Rescuers are at work amid the rubble of a section of a giant motorway bridge that collapsed earlier

Rescuers are at work amid the rubble of a section of a giant motorway bridge that collapsed earlier

Rescuers scoured crushed mountains of rubble for victims of a bridge collapse in Genoa as the toll rose to 39 Wednesday and Italy's government blamed the company in charge of motorways for the disaster.

Italy's deputy premier, Luigi Di Maio, blamed the bridge collapse on a lack of maintenance by the private company that operates numerous nation's toll highways.

"Miracles are still possible", Salvini said.

Valentina Galbusera, 43, a doctor, told La Stampa: "The bridge fell in front of me, not even 20m away, I avoided the collapse by only a couple of seconds".

The motorway operator said work to shore up the bridge's foundation was being carried out at the time of the collapse, during which time it was being constantly monitored.

A Treasury source said Tria was already discussing a big overall public investment plan with European Union officials, worth a total of 150 billion euros over 10 years.

Conte said it had been responsible for ensuring safety on the bridge and the government would not await the outcome of a current criminal investigation into the disaster before taking action.

Every person goes on that bridge every day, some people to go to work, we go to the training ground and it's a crying shame that in 2018 these things can still happen.

Speaking Wednesday in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, Pope Francis expressed his sorrow at "the tragedy that occurred yesterday in Genoa" and prayed for all those affected.

It has been riddled with structural problems since its construction, which has led to expensive maintenance and severe criticism from engineering experts.

About 630 people have been told to leave nearby homes because remaining parts of the bridge might collapse over them, authorities said, adding that the homes will probably have to be knocked down.

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"Fifty years ago, we had unlimited confidence in reinforced concrete, we thought it was eternal, but now we know that it only lasted a few decades", Diego Zoppi, former president of the Genoa branch of the order of architects, told reporters on Tuesday.

We will look at all these details and as Prime Minister (Giuseppe) Conte has said, we are responsible for all national infrastructure and we will look at other facilities in the same condition.

In this photo released by the Italian firefighters, rescue teams work among the rubble of the collapsed Morando highway bridge in Genoa, northern Italy.

The firm, which said the bridge had been undergoing maintenance work, released a statement refuting accusations of underfunding of motorway infrastructure.

Genoa is a flood-prone city, and authorities warned that the piles in the dry riverbed could become a dam in a matter of hours if heavy rains arrive.

While the cause of the Morandi bridge collapse in the northern port city is now under investigation, there has been widespread debate over the state of the country's infrastructure in general in recent years.

Lack of investment, poor maintenance and, in some cases, the involvement of mafia-run building companies that use poor quality concrete to increase profits, could all contribute to disasters like the one in Genoa.

He said the bridge was an "engineering failure" an an interview with broadcaster Primocanale.

But there had been warnings for years that the Morandi Bridge was an accident waiting to happen.

More bodies were recovered Wednesday from the site of a highway bridge collapse. "Autostrade should have done maintenance and didn't do it".

Idris also credited police for hustling 150-200 people off the bridge to the tunnel, then risking their own lives by going back onto the span to bring some of the vehicles to safety.

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