Atlantia’s motorway unit picks outside firms for safety checks on network

General view of an infrastructure group Atlantia's headquarters, in Rome

MILAN (Reuters) – Autostrade per l’Italia has chosen a group of companies led by engineering firm Proger to conduct safety checks on 4,500 bridges, overpasses and tunnels it runs, the motorway unit of Italian infrastructure group Atlantia said on Monday.

The move is part of a gradual overhaul of Autostrade following the 2018 deadly collapse of a motorway bridge operated by the company.

Last year, Atlantia said it would hand monitoring and safety checks of its network to external companies after several employees at its Spea Engineering unit were put under investigation for allegedly falsifying safety reports on several bridges operated by the group.

The consortium, comprising Proger, Bureau Veritas Nexta, Tecno Piemonte and Tecno Lab, will use a new digital platform for real-time monitoring of bridges and viaducts that Autostrade has developed with IBM and Fincantieri Nextech, Autostrade said.

This year, the motorway group will spend around 30 million euros ($36 million) for safety checks and has set aside 67.5 million euros in the next five years that will go to the consortium led by Proger.

Autostrade, which runs more than 3,000 kilometres of roads in Italy, has spent 650 million euros on maintenance so far this year and plans to dedicate around 600 million euros next year.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)