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Stop Messina about


I was pleased to read in last week's NCE that the world's tunnel authorities are at last to embrace sprinklers to fight tunnel fires. Could this be as a result of my letter published in NCE (April 1999) supporting the use of sprinklers in tunnel fires- And another in November 2001 after the St Gotthard tunnel fire- Ah. . . the power of the press!

Could this powerful influence that NCE obviously has on the world's civil engineering issues also be applied to the biggest white elephant in the history of bridge construction since Barbara Castle authorised the go ahead of the Humber Bridge for political advantage in a by-election- I am, of course, talking about the Messina Bridge linking the toe of Italy to the small Mediterranean island of Sicily (also NCE last week).

By the time it is finished, this monstrosity could have cost well over three thousand million pounds (sounds more in words doesn't it- ). Being a European project, how much of this money is coming from my - and your - taxation- This would surely be better spent on hundreds of transport projects throughout Europe. Remember the controversy which followed the construction of that other unnecessary bridge - to the Isle of Skye?

Peter Wadsworth CEng, MICE, uk

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