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Builder’s assurance: Jumbo ships will fit under planned bridge

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ROME – The world’s tallest ships will be able to pass under the future Messina Straits Bridge, the CEO of the Stretto di Messina contracting company, Pietro Ciucci, said recently after logistics federation Federlogistica voiced doubts about mammoth cruise liners and tall ships getting under what would be the world’s longest suspension bridge linking Sicily to mainland Italy.

“The navigable height of the bridge is 236.22 feet, with a width of 1968.504 feet, and only drops to 213.255 feet in exceptional conditions of heavy road and rail traffic,” he said.

“These parameters are in line with the existing bridges on the great international navigation ways, in coherence with the procedures established by IMO (International Maritime Organization) norms.”

Federlogistica President Luigi Merlo had said earlier that a height of 213.255 feet was too low for the great ships of the day.

Last week the European Parliament approved the updated guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network (Ten-T), which connects over 420 major cities in the EU, and included in the plan Italy’s ambitious project to build the Messina Strait Bridge.

Work on the bridge will start this summer, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Matteo Salvini said after the environment ministry asked the contracting company to explain 239 parts of the project.

Salvini has pushed strongly to revive a project mooted by successive past center-right governments but never actually started due to environmental, mafia infiltration and seismic concerns and the significant cost.

The bridge currently has a price tag of some 14.6 billion euro, roughly $16.14 billion, or about one percent of Italian GDP, and is scheduled to come into use in the late 2030s.

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