Plans by the Italian government for the controversial suspension bridge which is to arch between the mainland and Sicily, are to continue despite continued criticism from the public.
The six billion euro, two-and-a-half mile bridge across the Strait of Messina has been seen as a project which, due to the distance it spans, might not be particularly a wise undertaking as the area is prone to earthquakes. "It's true that it costs six billion euros but this is the project and we're not going back on it," Altero Matteoli, the public works minister, told Italian radio.
The vision for this project is not entirely new as Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister, when he was in office in 2001-2006, first proposed the idea but was quickly abandoned by his center-left successor, Romano Prodi, amid concerns that it would mostly benefit construction firms run by the mafia. Prodi voiced his disdain for the bridge as he labeled it a vanity project and "the most useless and harmful infrastructure plan of the past 100 years!"
But guess who was re-elected prime minister? Yes. Silvio Berlusconi! And he has put the bridge project back on track as he insists that it will be able to handle nearly 5,000 cars an hour as well as high-speed trains, create thousands of jobs, boost tourism and improve transport links between the 'toe' of the Italian mainland and Sicily, replacing old ferry services.
I think that this is a good and innovative idea and disagree with critics that feel that the sheer size of the project make it unfeasible. If Dubai has thought us anything, it is that nothing is impossible. This will be a major icon in Europe when completed and will indeed stimulate the Italian economy though I do think that the six billion euros budgeted for its completion is unrealistic and will be closer to 20 billion when you factor in cost overruns, mismanagement, delays, union interference.
Image obtained from: www.telegraph.co.uk