Genova - It is no coincidence that Autostrade’s double move came on the day of the meeting in Rome between the government and the local institutions. The first, which is an official move, is the launch of a “transparency” operation that aims to demonstrate some basic concepts: maintenance on the Morandi Bridge has been constant and ASPI’s rates are lower than the European average.
But it is the second move, which is unofficial, that is the more significant: yesterday, two separate plans for the demolition and reconstruction, drawn up by Autostrade with indications of precise time frames, arrived at the offices of the Emergency Commission of the Region of Liguria.
The first option, according to sources, aims to complete the two phases - demolition of the sections of the Polcevera viaduct and construction of the new bridge - in 10 months, from the moment that area, which is under judicial seizure, is entirely cleared of debris. The second scenario is that the duration of the work will be longer, about fourteen months.
According to Autostrade, the difference is due to a consideration of the fate of the houses in the area of the Morandi Bridge: in the first case a greater number of houses would be sacrificed, probably with the choice of using explosives for the eastern section of the viaduct which collapsed on 14 August; in the second case, on the other hand, more houses could be saved. The two plans for the reconstruction are both based on the project of a new bridge which was designed and donated by Renzo Piano.
The governor and emergency commissioner, Giovanni Toti, also informed Premier Giuseppe Conte of the two plans formulated by Autostrade which were received at the Region yesterday, and the Prime Minister preferred not to voice his opinion on the subject, referring the assessments to the commissioner for reconstruction, who should be appointed within a few days. In the meantime, Autostrade has launched a genuine information campaign, with the emblematic title: “Operation Transparency”.
The ASPI website published a series of figures covering maintenance and tolls: according to the statistics in the possession of the concession holder, in the three and a half years from 2015 to 2018, “926 days of construction work were carried out [on the Polcevera viaduct], equal to an average of 5 days of work per week out of 7” while from 2000 to 2017 Autostrade “invested a total of €5.141 billion in the maintenance of the motorway network it managed.” ASPI added, “Compared to the obligations provided for in the Agreement (€4.946 billion), this is €195 million more.
A recent study by AISCAT (editor’s note: the concession holders’ “union”) shows that Autostrade per l’Italia spends about €108,000 per year on maintenance per km of infrastructure, five times more than the cost of maintenance for ANAS. The Autostrade site also states that the total resources invested in major construction and on the network “during the period of privatisation (2000-2017) the company made €13.6 billion in investments.” The published figures also show that tolls are “lower than the European average: average motorway costs per car are 7.44 cents per km compared with 8.73 cents for France, 8.37 cents for Portugal, 12.13 cents for Spain and 16.02 cents for the United Kingdom.”