Under-fire operator says it plans to build new steel structure

Autostrade chief executive Giovanni Castellucci said the company would pay for the new bridge to be built in the next eight months if it can get authorities to agree the plan.

He said experts had come up with a “serious, solid, do-able project” to build the bridge differently and to “try to get Genoa to get up again”.

The company has set aside money to help the families of those who died and the 600 people who have had to leave their homes directly under the structure.

Autostrade said it will spend £450million, which includes the cost of the new bridge, to help Genoa recover with money being made available from tomorrow.

Although one study showed there were concerns about how some of the stays of the collapsed bridge reacted to vibration, Mr Castellucci said the reports he had read showed it was in “good health”.

When asked to apologise for the collapse, he said: “Apologies and responsibilities are things that are connected.

You apologise if you feel you are responsible.” The situation is complex and it will ultimately be up to the justice system to establish what happened.

Mr Castellucci insisted other bridges run by the company across Italy are safe.

He said Autostrade has always operated correctly in its role and that it was premature to comment on the procedure launched on Friday by Italy’s government aimed at revoking the group’s highway concessions.

Autostrade chairman Fabio Cerchiai offered his condolences to all the families affected by the tragedy, adding: “This has affected my heart, all our hearts.

We must and we will help the city of Genoa.”

He said the chief executive would stay and the reconstruction would not put out to tender.

Autostrade is controlled by infrastructure group Atlantia, which in turn is controlled by Italy’s Benetton family.

Some Italians have vented their anger against Benetton with calls for a boycott of the clothing company’s products.

One picture of the collapsed bridge appeared on social media with the slogan: “United Colours of the Dead”, a play on the company’s famous slogan “United Colours of Benetton”.