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Landslide damaged Sicily viaduct to be demolished

Italian Roads and Motorways National Agency Anas has said that a viaduct damaged by a landslide in Sicily last week will have to be demolished.

The landslide at Scillato on the A19 Himera Viaduct Palermo and Catania has damaged two of the viaducts piers and caused subsidence of the deck.

Anas had previously hoped to reopen one carriageway while it undertook repairs on the damaged section but inspections have revealed that the other carriageway has also been damaged.

Reuters has reported that the head of Anas Pietro Cucci has resigned following the collapse “after growing pressure over the degraded state of the country’s road system”.

According to Reuters, a combination of squeezed public spending after years of recession, mismanagement and chronic corruption around public works contracts, have starved infrastructure of investment.

“The truth is that the landslide that destroyed the section of the Palermo-Catania highway could have been made safe,” said Erasmo D’Angelis, who is leading an infrastructure monitoring unit set up by prime minister Matteo Renzi.

“Anas and the regional government should have intervened 10 years ago and no one did.”

Nonetheless, Anas has said that it is not responsible for the area in which the landslide occurred and had not been notified of any risk. Sicily governor Rosario Crocetta has also denied responsibility as the A19 doesn’t come under his jurisdiction, but it managed by central government and it should be Anas that intervenes.

Anas has estimated that it will take two years and cost €30M to reconstruct the viaduct and is in discussions with the local government to construct a diversion route.

Infrastructure minister Graziano Delrio has ordered an inquiry into the failure.

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