ITALIAN CONTRACTOR Impregilo is negotiating compensation with the Italian government after it scrapped its contract to build the e3.88bn Messina Bridge in October.
Prime Minister Romano Prodi's coalition government dropped plans to build the 3.3km suspension bridge across the Strait of Messina - connecting the mainland of Italy with Sicily - which would have been the world's longest.
A construction consortium led by Impregilo was due to start on site in 2007.
A spokeswoman for state owned client company, Stretto di Messina, said that had Impregilo started on site it would have been entitled to 10% of the construction cost, amounting to around e388M.
Impregilo won the contract to build the bridge in October 2005, but because it was still developing a detailed design it was unclear whether Impregilo would be entitled to compensation, the spokeswoman added. She said the government was trying to sweeten the blow by offering Impregilo other transport infrastructure work to an equivalent value.
Prodi has been reported as saying Impregilo's 'rights' would 'be protected'.
Prodi said in October that his government would plough cash earmarked for the bridge and approach works into other much needed road and rail upgrade work in Sicily and Calabria - the regions that would have bene ted from construction of the bridge - such as the BattipagliaReggio-Calabria and Messina-Catania-Palermo railways.
Stretto di Messina's spokeswoman said plans to build the Messina Bridge had not been killed but had been mothballed.