However, locals say that the bridge has had problems for years, and that it was often attended to by repair crews, but the fixes were never long-lasting, and many in Genoa had petitioned the authorities to replace it.
Italy's government blamed the firm that operated the collapsed Genoa bridge for the disaster that has claimed at least 39 lives, as search operations entered a second night on Wednesday with rescuers digging through mountains of crushed concrete. At least two people were missing.
Deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio, who arrived in Genoa on Wednesday morning, earlier said the tragedy "could have been avoided". The risk of fatality from a bridge collapse is around 1 in 100 million per year, which is roughly 100 times less likely than being struck by lightning.
Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said the collapse was "unacceptable" and that if negligence played a role "whoever made a mistake must pay".
Toninelli said the government has started a process to levy fines of $170 million on Autostrade per l'Italia.
But Autostrade defended its overall safety record.
"We employed the companies and institutes that are world leaders in testing and inspecting based on the best worldwide practices", the company said, adding that it spends more than $1.15 billion per year on road security and maintenance. The company added that its safety investments have resulted in have resulted in fewer deaths and accidents.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte today declared a year-long state of emergency for the region of Liguria after the bridge disaster that killed 39.
Chief prosecutor Francesco Cozzi told reporters "there could be 10 to 20 persons still missing".
Since the cause is yet to be ascertained, there are "no suspects" at this point, the prosecutor said. Vehicles plummeted some 150 feet into an industrial area of the northern maritime city, some landing on a railway line and others hitting a riverbed. I saw the road collapse then I fell with them.
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An unidentified woman who was standing below the bridge told RAI state TV that it crumbled Tuesday as if it were a mound of baking flour.
"Oh God", a witness can be heard crying out in Italian as footage of the collapse was caught on video.
About 1,000 rescue workers using sniffer dogs are trying to extract bodies and potentially survivors from the rubble.
"It's not easy to distinguish between who doesn't respond because they are on the other side of the world and turned off their phone to relax" on vacation, and "who's not responding because they are under the rubble", he said.
And Canada's Globe and Mail reports that "mafia-related companies are known to have infiltrated the Italian cement and reconstruction industries over the decades, and prosecutors have accused them of doing shoddy work that can not withstand high stress".
The highway bridge, in the northern Italian city, crashed to the ground without warning on Tuesday, with nearly 40 cars and trucks falling 45 metres with it.
In Paris, France's foreign ministry said three French nationals were among the dead.
In 2013, some 5-Star MPs had questioned the wisdom of an ambitious and expensive infrastructure overhaul programme as possibly wasteful, according to reports, but a post about that on the Movement's site was removed on Tuesday after the bridge's collapse.
Speaking Wednesday in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, Pope Francis expressed his sorrow at "the tragedy that occurred yesterday in Genoa" and prayed for all those affected.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella has said the collapse is an "absurd" catastrophe that has stricken the entire nation.