The ongoing trial investigating the tragic 2018 Genoa bridge disaster, which claimed the lives of 43 individuals, has uncovered disturbing information, revealing that the risk of collapse had been known for years.
Gianni Mion, the former head of the highways company responsible for the bridge and its maintenance, expressed deep regret during the trial, acknowledging, “I didn’t do anything, and it’s my greatest regret.” He disclosed that concerns about the bridge’s stability were raised eight years before the catastrophe.
“At a meeting, it became evident that the bridge had an inherent design flaw and that there existed a risk of collapse,” Mion revealed while providing testimony on the trial’s focus—investigating the cause of the 200-meter segment of the highway breaking away from the bridge.
Fifty-nine individuals involved in various capacities now face charges that range from multiple manslaughter to making false statements. All defendants have vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
Mion disclosed that in 2010, he had sought assurance regarding the bridge’s safety, asking if someone could certify it. At the time, Riccardo Mollo, who served as the General Manager of Autostrade per l’Italia (Aspi), responded, “there’s the self-certification.”
“I didn’t comprehend the meaning of that response; I thought it was nonsensical. I should have taken action, but I failed to do so,” lamented Mion, emphasizing his greatest regret lies in not pursuing the matter further.
The Morandi bridge, an integral part of a key highway connecting Italy and France, collapsed amidst heavy rainfall on the eve of Ferragosto—a significant summer holiday in Italy celebrating the Assumption of Mary. Witnesses recounted the harrowing experience of their vehicles tilting forward before plummeting 45 meters into an abyss. Cars were mangled by debris and crushed under concrete as they plummeted.
Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister at the time, condemned the incident as “unacceptable in modern society,” drawing attention to Italy’s crumbling transport infrastructure.
Mion’s testimony carries considerable weight in the ongoing trial, confirming the urgent need for substantial renovation or even demolition of the Morandi bridge. He revealed his reasons for keeping silent, citing fear of losing his job and relinquishing his position of power and prestige within one of Italy’s major industrial companies.
Following the tragedy, the remnants of the bridge were demolished, and in August 2020, a new viaduct designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano was inaugurated to replace it. A native of Genoa, Piano, known for his iconic designs such as the Shard in London and the Pompidou in Paris, conceived the new bridge as a gift to the city.