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

Status: 03/17/2023 12:15 p.m

Sicily connected to mainland Italy by bridge? Corresponding plans have failed several times, and now the government around Meloni is getting serious. Critics consider the project risky not only because of the risk of earthquakes.

After many years of back and forth, the Italian government plans to build a bridge that will connect mainland Italy to the island of Sicily. The cabinet of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni passed a corresponding decree on Thursday evening, which provides for “urgent measures for the construction of a stable connection between Sicily and Calabria”.

The bridge “will represent the flagship of Italian engineering,” said Transport Minister Matteo Salvini. He spoke of a “historic day not only for Calabria and Sicily, but for all of Italy”. “They won’t stop us this time,” he said in a statement, recalling his government’s plans many years ago.

Transport Minister Salvini spoke of a “historic day”.

Image: AFP

Critics speak of “a waste of resources”

According to the Ansa news agency, critics accuse the government of “wasting resources”. Environmentalists reject the plans because of “extremely high ecological and financial costs”.

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

However, nothing came of the plans. At the time, critics considered them superfluous and risky because of the risk of earthquakes in the region.

One of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world

With a length of about 3.2 kilometers, the bridge would 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. So far, Sicily can only be reached from the mainland by air or by ferry.

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

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