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Messina: the challenges

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The bridge itself accounts for a surprisingly small £1.2bn of the total £3.1bn price tag. The crossing will link into road and rail networks on either side via a combined 40km of new roads and railway, costing £1.5bn.

More than 30km of the new road and rail infrastructure will have to be built in tunnel. Relatively little ground investigation was done before tenders were invited, leaving bidders without detailed information against which to draw up designs.

The area is an earthquake zone, and Sicily sits on a different tectonic plate to Calabria. Yet seismic information was also lacking in tender documents, claimed Strabag head of civil engineering Martin Ullrich.

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