Currently the narrowest part of the Strait of Messina is crossed by a ferry, Source: Depositphotos

Italian government greenlights bridge between Sicily and mainland

Italian government greenlights bridge between Sicily and mainland

The idea dates back even to Antiquity, but how feasible is it?

Yesterday, 16 March, the Italian government approved a decree which will revive the idea of building a bridge over the Strait of Messina to connect the island of Sicily to the mainland.

The text of the decree intervenes overall in different areas (among the main ones: corporate structure and governance of the Strait of Messina, concession relationship, a restart of the planning and design activities of the work, and environmental monitoring service), in order to allow, as soon as possible, the restart of the executive design procedure for the bridge.

The idea itself dates back to the Ancient Romans and throughout the centuries it has gone through various iterations (including an idea to build an underwater tunnel in the 19th century) – all ultimately fruitless.

Hailed for its environmental benefits

These days, however, its main advocate was no other than Matteo Salvini, deputy PM and also the Minister of Infrastructure. After the decision, he went on Twitter where he hailed the decision as being taken on a “historic day”.

Couching the decision in contemporary parlance to make it appealing to as broad an audience as possible, he also described it as the “greenest project in the world”. In his view, it would save the release of 140,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, not to mention the thousands of jobs it would create.

Currently, crossing the 3.8-km watery stretch is possible via a ferry ride between the ports of Messina (Sicily) and Villa San Giovanni (Calabria).

Nevertheless, there are concerns about the viability of such a project due to the seismically active nature of the region, given that the Mount Etna volcano is only a stone’s throw distance from there.

Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, a partner in Italy's right-wing coalition, welcomed the revival of the project which he had also backed as prime minister in 2009.



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