Bridge disaster a stark reminder of how mafia, corruption have left Italy’s infrastructure crumbling

ROME — It has been the stuff of macabre legend for years — that those who cross the Sicilian mafia end up encased in the concrete pylons of viaducts and bridges.

The truth about the mafia and construction, however, is more prosaic — and far more lethal.

Rather than dumping rival gangsters into wet cement, organized crime groups imperil people’s lives by building bridges, tunnels, roads and apartment blocks with low quality materials and slapdash techniques.

Using cement containing...

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