Italy's deputy Premier Matteo Salvini spoke about the withdrawal of the Autostrade's permit and announced a fine of up to 150 million euros and said anyone found responsible for the disaster will be brought to justice.
A pensioner died in October 2016 when his auto was crushed by a collapsing bridge over a dual carriageway between Milan and Lecco. "For sure it was not an accident", he said.
"I express my spiritual closeness to their families, to the injured, to the displaced, and to all those who suffer as a result of this dramatic event", the pontiff said Wednesday.
But he noted if there had been serious concerns about the safety of the bridge in the prosecutor's office "none of us would have driven over that highway 20 times a month as we do". 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. On Tuesday, hours after the collapse, he said that there can't be a tradeoff between the citizens' safety and the fiscal rules.
The 1967 bridge, considered innovative in its time for its use of concrete around its cables, had always been due for an upgrade, especially since the structure saw more heavy traffic than its designers had envisioned.
The condition of the bridge, and its ability to sustain large increases in both the intensity and weight of traffic over the years, have been a focus of public debate since Tuesday's collapse, when an 80-metre span gave way at lunchtime as cars packed with holidaymakers, as well as trucks, streamed across it.
He also said the government would carry out nationwide structural inspections of ageing bridges and tunnels across the country with a view to launching a programme of remedial works if required. It called for an ambitious comprehensive plan to fix or replace tens of thousands of Italian bridges and viaducts built in the 1950s and 1960s, during the Italian economy's rapid growth as the nation surged back after the damage of World War II.
Italian government officials and representatives of Autostrade, the infrastructure company which maintains the bridge, have stated it's too early to reach a definitive conclusion on what caused the collapse.
Italian politicians, for their part, are trying to find who to blame for the tragedy.
Antonio Brencich, professor of reinforced concrete construction at the University of Genoa and a longstanding critic of the bridge, highlighted the constant maintenance the bridge needed.
"Instead of investing money for maintenance, they divide the profits".
"Autostrade should have done maintenance and didn't do it", he said.
Atlantia was not immediately available to comment on the minister request for the top management's resignation or on the possible revoking of management license. He blamed previous Italian governments of turning a blind eye to the health of the nation's toll highways because of political contributions.
Italian state radio said Wednesday, meanwhile, that some members of the 5-Star Movement had questioned in 2013 the wisdom of an ambitious infrastructure overhaul program as wasteful.