April 19. 2024. 8:26

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Italian companies to build Sicily bridge, deputy PM says


A consortium led by Italy is likely to win the contract for the Messina bridge that connects Sicily and the mainland. This was announced on Tuesday (4 April) by Infrastructure Minister and Deputy Prime Minster Matteo Salvini.

Italian group Salini Impregilo led the consortium that won the 2006 European tender for the bridge. However, the plan was later withdrawn due to cost concerns.

The project has been revived by Rome’s nationalist government. Although there is a lot of interest from overseas companies, Salvini stated that he believed the original Italian group could retain the contract.

Salvini, a member of the Foreign Press Association in Rome, stated that the government has received expressions from around the globe, including China, but the goal is to have the bridge constructed by Italian companies.

In an interview with Pei Minshan, the group’s deputy general manager, Il Sole 24 Ore stated that China Communications Construction Company had expressed interest in the Messina bridge construction project.

Salvini stated that "I’m pleased that there is interest from many subjects all over the globe", but that the tender winners in 2006 "are the ones most likely to continue with the final version" of the project.

Webuild did not comment on the remarks of the minister.

Last month, when the company presented its 2023-2025 industrial strategy, Massimo Ferrari, the General Manager Corporate and Financial, said that "we still believe the Messina Bridge project is possible and would bring tremendous value to the company".

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Since ancient Roman times, the ambition to link Sicily and the Italian mainland has been a goal. It was a dream that a number of Italian governments tried to realize in recent decades. However, they never succeeded.

Salvini stated that he believed work could begin in the summer 2024. The proposed suspension bridge with a record-length central span measuring 3.2-3.3 kms (22.0-2.1 mi) would be earthquake-, wind-, and tornado-proof.

He stated that the bridge was not eligible to receive funding from the European Union’s post-COVID recovery program, but added that the government was still in discussions with the EU Transport Commissioner and the European Investment Bank about other financing options.

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