Motorway bridge collapse in Italy kills couple

Countrys second such incident in recent months prompts questions over state of infrastructure

An Italian couple have been killed after a motorway bridge collapsed on top of their car, in Italys second such tragedy in just over four months.

Police said Antonella Viviani, 54, and her husband, 60-year-old Emidio Diomede, died at the scene on Thursday after the bridge, which was undergoing maintenance work, gave way on to the A14 highway near Ancona in the east of the country.

A criminal investigation for manslaughter was opened and the infrastructure ministry announced its own inquiry and sent inspectors to the scene.

It follows a similar incident on 28 October last year when Claudio Bertini, 68, died when his car was crushed by a bridge collapse on the SS36 dual carriageway between Milan and Lecco.

That incident was blamed on bureaucratic bungling which led to a fatal delay in the bridges closure after it was reported to have significant cracks.

It fell under the weight of an articulated lorry that had special permission to carry an exceptionally heavy load but should have been diverted to a different road.

While the full circumstances of Thursdays accident remained unclear, the two incidents have triggered a debate about the state of Italys infrastructure.

There are also questions about whether sufficient checks were made on bridges and tunnels after three major earthquakes in the second half of last year.

The latest incident occurred on the coast of the Marche region, whose mountainous interior is close to the quake epicentres.

Serenella Fucksia, a senator for the opposition Five Star Movement, said: More casualties that could have been avoided, more interventions post rather than pre, a complete lack of global vision on the security of buildings and infrastructure in Marche.

Aside from the earthquake issue, Italys infrastructure is showing the effects of economic stagnation. The countrys output is roughly the same as it was two decades ago.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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