Genoa will have a new bridge within a year, its mayor said Saturday, as the Italian city prepared to start demolition work on the remains of the bridge that collapsed in August killing more than 40 people.
"The objective is to take the demolition far enough so that construction work can begin," Marco Bucci said. "The objective is to start construction work on March 31 which will allow us to have a bridge for Christmas."
A section of a viaduct on the A10 motorway collapsed in Genoa in August without warning, causing a 200-metre long piece of the Morandi bridge to fall away.
Cars and trucks fell with the rubble. Forty-three people died in the accident and dozens were injured.
The bridge's reconstruction was crucial not just for Genoa and its region, "but for all of northern Italy and I daresay for France and Switzerland", Bucci said.
The cost of the demolition work and clearance of the site is estimated at 19 million euros ($21.5 million), authorities said Friday.
A consortium of five Italian companies lined up for the work, which still needs to be approved by a judge.
For now, the site of the disaster is still closed off because it is considered evidence in an ongoing investigation into who is to blame for the bridge's collapse.
Demolition work could be considered to interfere with the probe.