France Concerned With Condition Of Nation's Bridges After Deadly Collapse In Italy

France

An audit that was recently conducted by the government of France has determined that more than 800 bridges in the country are at risk for collapse. The result of the audit was published in the Le Journal du Dimanche and notes that approximately one-third of the 12,000 bridges in France have sustained damage that is in need of repair.

The audit additionally reports that about 840 of these bridges, a number that represents seven percent of the bridges in the country, are at risk of collapsing in the coming years. The suggestion by the audit is that consideration should be given to shutting them down.

The audit blames insufficient investment in road repairs as the culprit for the current predicament and suggests that by the year 2037, as much as 62 percent of roads in the country will be degraded. The audit also estimates that six percent of France's bridges will be completely out of service.

The report highlighted the fact that while France spends more on road maintenance and repairs than countries located in Southern Europe, the amount invested in its network of roads is quite a bit less than the Northern European countries of Switzerland, Austria, and the United Kingdom.

The results of the audit are made all the more alarming following last Tuesday's collapse of the Genoa Bridge in Italy that resulted in the deaths of 43 people.

The audit was published a month but has taken on a renewed importance in light of the tragedy in Italy. This has increased the pressure that is being placed on the government of President Emmanuel Macron to increase spending on the nation's infrastructure and address the many issues raised in the report.

The money set aside in the current budget for infrastructure spending is equal to 800 million euros for 2018. In addition to this, a recent billion Euro 'Save the Roads' initiative has been announced.

A statement from the Ministry of Transport expressed that a significant increase to the budget is the desired objective and this matter will be debated in the upcoming autumn parliament meetings.

A spokesperson working for the Ministry also expressed while speaking on Info radio in France that the findings of the report should not be seen by French citizens as a cause for panic. The spokesperson advises individuals that are concerned with the report that the problems mentioned are in the context of the long-term. The language of the report does not lend itself to fears that bridges are in imminent danger of collapse. The spokesperson ended by saying that any infrastructure that is not safe for the public would be closed immediately.

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