Italy approves building a bridge to link Sicily with Europe

Bridge to link Sicily with Europe

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, although 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 Executive’s intention is to resume 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, said the bridge will be a “growth engine” for southern Italy, as well as a “major tourist attraction.”

The Minister of Civil Protection and Maritime Policies, Nello Musumeci, for his part, celebrated that the decree law “is a firs concrete step towards the realization of a strategic infrastructure that has been expected for more than a century “.

“The bridge will allow, along with fast railways, modernized highways and equipped ports, to make southern Italy Europe’s logistics base in the Mediterranean. Let ‘s get down to business,” 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 decisive 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 was taken up years later, in 2001, by magnate and prime minister Silvio Berlusconi but five years later it was stopped by the social democrat Romano Prodi, until in 2012 the technocrat Mario Monti shelved the project that seemed definitive, online with its 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 Etna. , the most active in Europe.