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 Minister of Infrastructure, Matteo Salvini, confirmed the rule, which takes up an already existing company, Messina Street (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 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”.
The Minister of Civil Protection and Maritime Policies, Nello MusumeciFor his part, he celebrated that the decree law “is a first 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 foundation of Italy as a State, in the 19th century.
The most determined step was taken in 1981 when the Christian Democrat government Arnaldo Forlani he created the company “Stretto di Messina”, but nothing was done.
The idea was taken up again years later, in 2001, by the tycoon and prime minister Silvio Berlusconi but five years later it was stopped by the social democrat Romano Prodiuntil in 2012 the technocrat Mario Monti He 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 the Etna, the most active in Europe.