VENICE'S FLOOD barrier is one step closer to reality following the decision last month to proceed with the final design.
The move potentially ends years of argument over the scheme's environmental impact within the special government committee charged with protecting the city from flooding.
The £1.5bn barrier scheme is designed to hold back tides of between 1m and 2.75m using 79 semi-buoyant flap gates built into the bed of the three inlets to the Venice lagoon. A further £1bn is to be spent on the 'Insulae' project to cope with tides up to 1m and hence reduce the environmental impact of sealing off the lagoon.
Completion of design is subject to certain conditions being met by the end of the year. Construction is expected to be completed by 2010.