Sunday, October 16, 2005


The 2.5 mile bridge will link Sicily to Italy spanning the Messina Straits. The Bridge has it's detractors who accuse it of being nothing more than a vote winning white elephant putting Italy billions of euros in debt, ($5.3bn), and an earthquake disaster waiting to happen although it is engeenered to flex 30 feet during an earthquate measuring 7.1 Ricter. It will have a double six lane highway and four tracks for a high speed railway line.

During the Punic Wars, Roman consul Gaius Cecilio Metello wanted to march elephants into Sicily across a wooden bridge; in 1870 a 2-mile tunnel was proposed to link the island with the mainland; and in 1971 a fixed link was declared a “prevailing national interest.” But the area’s 100 active seismic faults—including four directly through the Strait of Messina itself—and powerful winds and ocean currents have long been formidable engineering obstacles.

Advances in computer modeling mean structures can be designed lighter and stronger, making possible a single 2-mile-long, 10-lane span suspended from 4-foot-diameter cables hanging from 1,000-foot towers built on the mainland and the island. The span would beat the current world-record holder, Japan’s Akashi Kaikyo suspension bridge, by 66 percent. The land-based towers eliminate the problem of building support bases in the turbulent water.

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