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New transport minister vows to scrap Messina Bridge


CONSTRUCTION OF Italy's 3.3km long Messina Bridge was thrown into doubt last month when the country's new transport minister said the project should be scrapped.

Work on the project ground to a halt after the minister, Alessandro Bianchi, said the E3.9bn (£2.65bn) Messina Bridge was one of the 'most useless and damaging projects' in Italy for a century.

He vowed to terminate contracts for construction, management, insurance and supervision of the project.

Client Stretto di Messina said 'all work has come to a standstill'. It was urgently seeking a meeting with Bianchi.

A consortium headed by Italian contractor Impregilo was appointed to develop the project in March under a £45M contract. Detailed design was due for completion by the end of this year, ready for construction to start at the beginning of 2007.

If the project is cancelled, Impregilo will claim damages for termination of its contract.

Bianchi was speaking after the inauguration of Italy's new centreleft coalition government, led by prime minister Romano Prodi.

Prodi ousted Silvio Berlusconi, who agreed to construction of the recordbreaking Messina crossing in 2002.

Bianchi represents Italy's Green Party, which has been opposed to the project since its inception.

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