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Feeling a sense of familiarity? Italy is planning to construct the world’s longest suspension bridge to connect to Sicily

Italy is planning to construct the world’s longest suspension bridge to link the Italian mainland with Sicily after years of anticipation. Proposed is a bridge spanning approximately 3,300 meters (10,800 feet) across the Strait of Messina, connecting Calabria and Sicily.

If constructed, the suspension span would be approximately 60% longer than the world’s current longest suspension bridge, the 2,023-meter (6,637-foot) 1915 Çanakkale Bridge in Turkey.

Nevertheless, significant emphasis should be placed on the conditionality of the statement. Debates regarding the connection between Sicily and Italy have persisted since ancient Roman times, with minimal advancements achieved to date.

An account by Pliny the Elder, a Roman thinker and army commander who perished in the 79 CE eruption of Mount Vesuvius, mentions a temporary bridge being constructed across the Strait of Messina to transport war elephants captured in 251 BCE from Carthage in North Africa. Regardless of its mythical nature, the concept has endured through the ages.

The project was initially reconsidered during the 1860s in the context of Italy’s unification and remained a focus of Italian politics in the latter part of the 20th century.

In 2002, the media tycoon and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced plans for a grand bridge, stating that construction would begin in 2004 and finish by 2010. Warning: The structure was never constructed. Berlusconi reintroduced the concept in 2009, only to abandon it in 2013 as a result of financial constraints.

In recent times, the idea of constructing the Strait of Messina Bridge has been revived due to the succession of right-wing populist administrations in Italy.

A pivotal development occurred when the cabinet of Giorgia Meloni formally revived the plan to construct the bridge in March 2023.

The government described it as a significant day for Italy, emphasizing that the infrastructure project would generate numerous jobs and boost economic prospects in the southern regions. They anticipate completing the project within 15 years, with a budget of €12 billion ($12.9 billion).

Once again, the plan has sparked controversy. Opposition parties have alleged a lack of transparency in the project’s funding, with critics expressing worries about possible Mafia involvement. Some environmentalists and scientists have expressed concerns about the proposal due to the area’s high seismic activity and susceptibility to earthquakes.

The government is proceeding with determination, despite any obstacles or past events.

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s infrastructure minister and leader of the far-right League coalition party, stated that the bridge will be constructed and will be a source of pride for Italy, as reported by the ANSA press agency.

He confidently declared, “Full steam ahead!”

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