Thanks to a recent law pushed by the government of Georgia Meloni, Italy could soon undertake an engineering project that will result in the world’s biggest suspension bridge.
Since Roman times, the dream of a bridge from mainland Italy to Sicily has existed. That dream never became a reality – until now!
It seems that the project could come to fruition after the country’s prime minister Giorgia Meloni passed a decree that approved a revival of the plan.
The bridge would represent a huge engineering feat, but the project comes with geographical and political challenges.
A top-class project – what’s in store?
There has long been a running joke in Italy; when someone wants to make a point that something will never happen, they say, “I’ll do it when the bridge to Messina is finished”, similar to how English speakers would use “When hell freezes over”.
However, Italy could soon be well on their way to building the world’s biggest suspension bridge, which is no laughing matter.
For Sicily, this means that the island will be better connected, and the suspension bridge, due to span 3.2 km (2 mi), will be the longest of its kind. Transport Minister Matteo Salvini recently revived this old plan, much to the delight of locals.
The significant engineering project has undergone countless attempted revivals, yet previous government officials deemed it “a waste of money” and “a risk to the environment”.
A 2006 bid to build the bridge was the closest it came to becoming a reality until the collapse of the government at that time, but now it looks like the project will mean great things for Italy.
Italy to build world’s largest suspension bridge – drawing attention from the world
WeBuild, the consortium that still holds the 2006 bid award, is likely to be the company for this incredible feat of engineering, according to Salvini. But that hasn’t stopped other international companies from expressing their interest.
When Salvini presented the plan for the suspension bridge in March, he immediately got attention from several international companies, including some in China.
Michele Longo, the engineering director for WeBuild, recently stated, “The bridge over the Strait of Messina is a project that can break ground immediately. As soon as the contract is reinstated and updated, the project can start”.
Longo added, “The executive design is expected to take eight months, while the time needed to build the bridge will be a little more than six years.”.
The fear behind the build – difficulties may lie ahead
The project will cost an estimated €4.5 billion, and while that is a massive chunk of money, the fear that the bridge could fall under criminal control lingers.
Southern Italy is prone to corruption, and fears remain that local mobs could demand money; however, Salvini disregarded this concern. “I’m not afraid of criminal infiltration,” he told parliament recently.
There are also geographical concerns. The Strait of Messina runs along a fault line which was the epicentre of the deadliest earthquake recorded in Europe. The 1908 earthquake resulted in tsunamis and the deaths of over 100,000 people.
Only time will tell how building the world’s biggest suspension bridge over the Strait of Messina progresses. However, if it finally goes ahead, this will be a massive accomplishment for Italy and those involved in the project.