Controversial government project: Italy wants to build a bridge to Sicily

Status: 03/17/2023 12:15 pm

Is Sicily connected to mainland Italy by a bridge? Related plans have failed several times, and now the government is intensifying around Maloney. Critics say the project is dangerous beyond the risk of earthquakes.

After years of back-and-forth, the Italian government plans to build a bridge connecting mainland Italy with the island of Sicily. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s cabinet passed a related decree on Thursday evening, which provides for “urgent measures to establish a sustainable link between Sicily and Calabria”.

Transport Minister Matteo Salvini said the bridge would “represent the pinnacle of Italian engineering”. He spoke of “a historic day not only for Calabria and Sicily, but for the whole of Italy”. “This time they will not stop us,” he said in a statement, recalling his government’s plans several years ago.

Transport Minister Salvini spoke of a “historic day”.

Image: AFP

“Waste of resources,” say critics

Critics accuse the government of “wasting resources”, according to the Ansa news agency. Environmentalists reject the plans because of “too high environmental and financial costs”.

Several Italian governments have previously discussed plans for a bridge across the Strait of Messina, the strait between the southern Italian region of Calabria and Sicily. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi campaigned for it in the early 2000s.

However, nothing came of the plans. At the time, critics considered them redundant and dangerous, as the region was prone to earthquakes.

One of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world

At about 3.2 kilometers long, the bridge will be one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world. The idea of ​​such a bridge goes back to the time of the Roman Empire. Until now, Sicily could only be reached from the mainland by plane or boat.

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Parliament now has two months to turn the decree into law. According to Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, construction should begin in 2024.

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