Italy declares year-long state of emergency after bridge disaster

Rescue workers continue to scrounge the rubble though they say there is little hope of finding any more survivals

"We have one of the biggest dealers in Europe that tells us that the bridge was safe and there was [no way] to imagine the collapse", Di Maio wrote. Conte said: "we can not wait for justice" and that "all citizens must travel in safety".

There has been anger and disbelief in Italy that such a vital structure could have simply given way.

Earlier today, the transport ministry called for the resignation of the top management of Anas.

While around a dozen apartment blocks that stand in the shadow of the viaduct were largely spared the impact of the falling concrete, the Liguria regional government said some 634 people had been evacuated.

Firefighter helicopter flies over the collapsed Morandi Bridge in the port city of Genoa, Italy August 16, 2018.

It's not yet clear what went wrong with the bridge.

Most recently, a 20 million-euro ($22.7 million) project to upgrade the bridge's safety had been approved before its collapse, with public bids to be submitted by September.

The director of motorway operator Autostrade said the collapse of the bridge was impossible to predict, but its design has come in for criticism in the past.

Mr Goccia said he had opened his truck door to get out when he was under the bridge and heard a huge explosion. "It was not a fatality, but a human error", said Cozzi, as reported by RAI News.

ITALY has declared a "state of emergency" that will last a YEAR as shocking pictures show the Morandi bridge crumbling weeks before it collapsed killing 39 people. On Wednesday, officials warned that other parts of the bridge could also give way.

Lending support to the website was Antonio Brencich, a professor of reinforced concrete construction at the University of Genoa, highlighting the constant maintenance the bridge needed.

The issue of transport in the area is now critical, given that the bridge was a major arterial route for an important port city.

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Italy's CNR civil engineering society called for a "Marshall Plan" to fix or replace tens of thousands of Italian bridges and viaducts built in the post-war period.

The prime minister has said all infrastructure across the country will be double-checked in the wake of the collapse.

There will be a national day of mourning on Saturday to coincide with the funerals of victims.

"Even without this tragedy the likelihood of the Italian government testing the EU's patience with respect to its budget rules was always likely to be there", CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said. "This government will do everything to prevent such tragedies from happening again".

The tragedy has focused anger on the structural problems that have dogged the decades old Morandi bridge and the private sector firm Autostrade per l'Italia, which is now in charge of operating and maintaining swathes of the country's motorways.

They included families in their cars, people going to work, and people going on holiday. Four French nationals from Occitanie are among the dead.

Among the victims was a young family of three, travelling to Sardinia with their eight-year-old son, their vehicle packed with beach toys. Davide Capello, a former goalkeeper for Italian Serie A club Cagliari, plunged with his vehicle but was unscathed.

His auto fell 30m in the collapse, but came to rest in a pocket between the columns and survived.

"I don't know if there is responsibility".

"The scene is apocalyptic, like a bomb had hit the bridge", Matteo Pucciarelli, a journalist for La Repubblica who lives in Genoa, told the Guardian.

Mr Piccoli refuted Salvini's statement in an angry exchange with CNBC Markets' host, saying: "The last time I checked, the European Union does not have a bridge policy".

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