The project to build the world’s longest suspension bridge that will link Sicily to mainland Italy, has been revived by the new Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Matteo Salvini.
Although the bridge has been discussed since antiquity, a thorough plan for the hugely ambitious engineering project was first created in the 1990s. In 2001, the Berlusconi government resumed the bridge project, but it was then cancelled by Romano Prodi’s centre-left government in 2006, when Italy was facing recession. In 2009, Italian officials announced that work would begin later that year, yet financial problems arose again, and in 2013 former Prime Minister Mario Monti closed the special-purpose company set up to oversee construction.
Now, the new right-wing government is seeking EU funds to revive the plans. “This is the government and legislature that have the ambition to lay the first stone and start building this blessed project,” said Salvini.
“We have been talking about crossing the Strait of Messina for decades, and, since 1981, hundreds of millions of euros have been spent without having achieved anything. We finally intend to move from words to deeds.”Matteo Salvini
Messina Bridge, named after the Strait of Messina, an ancient port city in south Italy, will measure over 3,600 metres, will include four motorised traffic lanes, two railway tracks and two pedestrian lanes and is estimated to cost several billion euros.
Opinions are divided on the matter, while supporters claim it will contribute to a boom in the economy and tourism, as well as creating job opportunities, some consider the bridge an unnecessarily costly construction and environmentalists warn the location has the highest seismic risk in Europe.
As per EuroNews, Salvini announced he will discuss the initiative at Brussels on December 5th and that construction work will begin in two years and will last for about five years.
“Over the next five years, starting work on the construction of the Strait Bridge is one of my goals.”Matteo Salvini
“The transshipment of ferries, in addition to pollution and waste of time, costs people more in a year than it would cost to build the bridge,” the minister added.
Currently you can travel to Sicily by plane, boat, or train, which is transported by ferry from mainland Italy to the island.