Bridge over the Strait, report of the technicians “Yes to stable connection”

REGGIO CALABRIA (ITALPRESS) – “Profound reasons” for creating a stable crossing system of the Strait of Messina, even in the presence of the “planned strengthening / redevelopment of maritime links (dynamic link)”. Tunnels are not recommended, both in the riverbed and under the riverbed, and comparison on single-span and multi-span bridge. These are the conclusions of the technical working group, initiated by the previous government and promoted by the then minister Paola De Micheli to evaluate any developments in the project for the stable crossing of the Strait. The group, which was established at the end of August 2020 and took office on the following September 2, concluded its work with a 158-page report. The document was sent by the Minister of Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility, Enrico Giovannini, to the presidents of the Senate and the Chamber.
A stable connection of the Strait, according to the technicians, would allow “to significantly increase the integration of the two metropolitan cities of Reggio Calabria and Messina, which already today express about 30% of the demand for crossing the Strait. A single integrated metropolitan area of ​​the Strait, with its approximately 800,000 inhabitants, would constitute – the report states – a development accelerator more than proportional to the demographic dimension ”.
The document analyzes four possible solutions: the single-span bridge, the multi-span bridge, the riverbed tunnel and the sub-riverbed one. The project of the 3,300-meter single-span bridge, adopted in 2011, according to the technicians, “should in any case be adapted to the results of new investigations, the new technical regulations for construction and the most recent technical specifications for interoperability inherent to the infrastructure and safety subsystem of railway tunnels “.
An unfavorable aspect of this solution, for the working group, is the “constraint of its location at the point of minimum distance between Sicily and Calabria” which “distances the crossing from the centers of gravity of the metropolitan areas of Messina and Reggio Calabria”. A “significant visual impact” and the “proximity of sensitive areas from a naturalistic point of view” are matched by a “reduced seismic sensitivity of the deck and no impact on navigation”.
The multi-span bridge, on the other hand, “would allow the connection to be located closer to the towns of Messina and Reggio Calabria, resulting in a smaller extension – the report states – of the multimodal connections, a lower visual impact, a lower sensitivity to wind effects, presumably lower costs and greater distance from valuable naturalistic areas “. However, “the issues relating to the response of the batteries in the water to seismic events and to strong and variable sea currents should be studied in depth”.
As regards the tunnel in the riverbed, according to the working group, “the considerations on seismic risk appear to be more critical, especially in correspondence with the crossing of the banks due to the presence of extensive systems of active faults, not sufficiently known, which would require extensive investigations geological and that could suffer discards of a few meters, in addition to the absence of technical and regulatory references and specific experiences “. For the sub-river tunnel, on the other hand, “very long connecting tunnels would be needed that would reach over 45 km without interruptions for the railway one (it would be the third longest in the world) and about 21 km for the road one (it would be the second longest in the world.” ) “.
The working group, therefore, believes that it “advises against the solutions of the underground and riverbed tunnels” while it believes that “the multi-span aerial solution is potentially cheaper than the single span one”. For this reason, the suggestion is to “develop the first phase of the feasibility project by limiting the comparison to the two crossing systems with a single-span bridge and a multi-span bridge. The first phase of the feasibility project – the document reads – will have to be subjected to a subsequent public debate “.
Furthermore, according to technicians, it is “more efficient to finance the crossing system entirely and transparently at the expense of public finance, also in relation to the widespread benefits that the work has on the entire country”. Finally, it is proposed to “evaluate different toll levels for cars, trucks, local / regional trains, high-speed trains and freight trains, such as to stimulate the demand for mobility and the socio-economic development of the territories involved”.

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