November 26, 2019 / 5:34 PM / 13 days ago

Atlantia unit reopens Italian motorway near Genoa

MILAN (Reuters) - A motorway linking the port city of Genoa to Piedmont, in the northwest of Italy, was partially reopened to traffic on Tuesday, the toll-road unit of infrastructure group Atlantia said.

The A26 motorway operated by Atlantia’s Autostrade per l’Italia unit had been temporarily shut on Monday for safety checks on two bridges.

On Sunday a viaduct on a highway in the same area and operated by SIAS, a separate toll-road company, collapsed after torrential rain sparked a landslide.

Genoa is still suffering from the collapse of the so-called Morandi motorway bridge, which last year caused the death of 43 people.

The two bridges checked on Monday are being investigated by prosecutors in a probe relating to allegedly falsified safety reports by employees at Autostrade and Atlantia’s maintenance unit SPEA.

Autostrade is also under investigation for the collapse of the Morandi bridge.

The company has always denied any wrongdoing.

The closure on Monday of the A26 motorway had sparked harsh protests from local administrators and companies in the northwest which risked being cut off from the rest of Italy.

In a meeting with Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Transport Minister Paola De Micheli on Tuesday, Autostrade’s chief executive pledged to speed up a maintenance plan for the motorway network, the company said in a statement.

Italy’s ruling coalition 5-Star Movement has asked for Atlantia to be stripped of its lucrative motorway concession, following the bridge collapse.

The government has not yet taken a final decision on what to do with the concession, which accounts for around one third of Atlantia’s core profit.

Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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