Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

December start for Messina bridge

Work on a long-envisioned and bitterly contested bridge connecting Sicily to mainland Italy will begin in December, the infrastructure minister said Thursday.

Construction on the €5 bn (£4.6bn) project will begin December 23 and will last until 2016, employing some 40,000 people, Altero Matteoli told Italy’s Sky TG24 TV.

The initial work will prepare the ground for the 3,690m (12,000 ft) long bridge by moving a railroad on the mainland and building roads near the Sicilian city of Messina, he said.

The concept of a bridge spanning the Strait of Messina has been debated in Italy since the 19th century.

Government after government has promised to embark on one of the biggest public works projects in Italy’s history only to back down in the face of the high costs and risks tied to what would be one of the world’s longest suspension bridges.

Critics maintain the money would be better spent on improving infrastructure in Italy’s underdeveloped south, saying the mammoth bridge, with six main traffic lanes, would be of little use in an area that has few and narrow highways.

Matteoli told Sky that much of the money would come from private funding tied to project, so the bridge would not take up resources that could be used elsewhere.

Environmental groups have said the bridge will damage the environment, in particular bird migrations, and poses a danger because of the risk of earthquakes in the highly seismic area.

In 2001, a government commissioned study also acknowledged there was a risk of mob infiltration in the project, mainly due to the huge sums of money involved.

 

 

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.