The Italian Government, meeting this Thursday in a Council of Ministers, approved a decree to build a bridge between the peninsula and the island of Sicily (South), a project that the country has debated and raised for decades, albeit without success.
The Infrastructure Minister, Matteo Salvini, confirmed the rule, which takes over an already existing company, Stretto di Messina (Strait of Messina), and which will now have the majority participation of the Ministry of Economy and Transport, in addition to the regions of Sicily and Calabria.
The intention of the Executive is retake the design presented in 2011, although updating it to the new safety and environmental regulations.
The jewel of Italian engineering
“The new authorization process will have to secure the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world (3.2 kilometers), which will be the jewel in the crown of Italian engineering art,” the ministry promised in a note.
Salvini, who made this project his big bet since he took over the infrastructure portfolio, stated that the bridge will be a “growth engine” for southern Italy, as well as a “major tourist attraction”.
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The Minister of Civil Protection and Marine Policies, Nello Musumeci, celebrated for his part that the decree law “is a first concrete step towards the realization of a strategic infrastructure expected for more than a century“.
“The bridge will allow, together with fast railways, modernized highways and equipped ports, to make southern Italy the Europe’s logistics base in the Mediterranean. Let’s get to work,” he said.
The proposal to cross the funnel that separates the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas with a bridge is very old and has been proposed on countless occasions since the founding of Italy as a State in the 19th century.
The most determined step was taken in 1981 when the government of the Christian Democrat Arnaldo Forlani created the company “Stretto di Messina” but nothing was done.
Ruled out underwater tunnels
The idea it was resumed years laterin 2001, by the tycoon and prime minister Silvio Berlusconi but five years then it was stopped by the social democrat Romano Prodi, until in 2012 the technocrat Mario Monti shelved the project that seemed definitive, in line with his budgetary austerity policies.
A report from the Ministry of Infrastructure in May 2021 ruled out the possibility of joining the strait with underwater tunnels and required seismic studies to be carried out since the area registers earthquakes as well as the frequent eruptions of volcanoes such as the one on the nearby island of Stromboli or Mount Etna, the most active in Europe.