Plans to build the world’s longest spanning suspension bridge are going ahead with a financier ready to bankroll the £5.25bn Messina Crossing in Italy.
Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo has announced its intention to finance the bridge that will link Sicily to mainland Italy.
Head of infrastructure financing at the bank Mario Ciaccia told news agency Reuters: “We have opened credit lines. It is £3.9bn of investment. We are ready to put what’s necessary and then syndicate it.”
With a main suspended span of 3.3km, the bridge will be 1.4km longer than the main span of the current world-beater, the Akashi-Kaikyo bridge in Japan. Messina will be 61m wide and carry six motorway lanes, a rail line and two pedestrian walkways.
Two pairs of 1.24m diameter steel cables will make up the bridge’s suspension system, which will be supported
by two 400m high towers with foundations reaching about 18m below the sea bed.
First mooted back in 2002 by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, the project was scrapped when a new administration gained power in 2006 amid fears over its safety.
The project was back on the agenda when Berlusconi was re-elected last year with the Italian government
earmarking £1.1bn for the scheme.
A spokesperson for contracting company Stretti Di Messina confirmed construction is to begin at the end of next year, ready for completion in late 2016.