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Venice flood triggers call for defence cash

The floods that hit Venice this week underlined the need to press ahead with the next phase of work on the city’s Moses project flood defences, the system’s designer told NCE.

Alarms sounded at 6:37am on Monday warning of one of the highest tides in the city’s history which brought Venice to a halt. City officials recorded the peak tide at 1.56m as a massive storm
surge pushed the sea into the city.

Italian consultant Technital is part of the Consorzio Venezia Nuova consortium which is building Venice’s £2.8bn Moses flood defence scheme. Its president Alberto Scotti told NCE that "this flood underlines the need to continue with the construction of the Moses Project."

Scotti’s comments come a week ahead of Italian economics and finance minister Giulio Tremonti’ expected decision on the allocation of the next tranche of funding for the project. This is
expected to be around £845M. The Moses Project was approved in spring 2003. It involves installing gates across the inlets to the lagoon where Venice is located. They will plug
the inward flow of water whenever exceptionally high tides threaten.

Technital designed a system of buoyant, hinged flaps that will lie in concrete caisson housings on the seabed. Ahead of a high tide, compressed air will be blown into the gates, bringing them to the surface. Although not completely watertight, the defensive line will be able to hold back a 2m height differential between the Adriatic and the lagoon.

"Works are about 50% complete at this stage," Scotti told NCE.

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