The Spanish company owns 18.7% of the consortium that won the project in 2005 and which is now in the commissioned rehabilitation phase.
Italian construction company WeBuild and Spain’s Sacyr are dreaming again of a €3.9 billion project to connect the Italian peninsula to Sicily, via a bridge 3.2 kilometers long and 60 meters wide. The decree approved by the Italian cabinet last Thursday to lift the viaduct project over the Strait of Messina from the freeze rehabilitates the contract signed by the Eurolink consortium in 2005.
45% of the share capital is held by WeBuild and 18.7% by Sacyr Engenharia e Infraestruturas. Other related partners are Condotte with 15% and the Japanese IHI (Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries) with 6.3%.
The market accredits the choices of construction companies that have already joined together to build the third set of locks for the Panama Canal. Shares of WeBuild rose 12% on Thursday and gained another 7.4% on Friday. Sayer’s share price rose 1.29% on Thursday, but fell 1.76% the next day.
The plan of the Minister of Infrastructure, Matteo Salvini, is to create the company Stretto di Messina, majority owned by the ministries of economy and transport, and the regions of Calabria and Sicily. The project is still the same as in 2011, when one of the attempts to install this cable-stayed bridge had already taken place, but it undergoes environmental and safety tests.
Stretto di Messina is the infrastructure promoter as well as the direction of the entire project, and Eurolink looks forward to implementing it. The path there will also be preceded by a redesign of the financial scheme and even the construction process. Sayer’s sources acknowledge that the plan is still at an early stage, but they already have an Executive Order and the necessary decrees approved.
Salvini’s oath speaks of this link as “the crown jewel of Italian infrastructure”, it can be read in a statement. In addition to its dazzling nature, the bridge is the stellar promise of the Minister of Public Works, who sees it as an engine for development in the south of the country. The connection to Sicily, in addition to the reconfiguration of roads and ports, or high-speed trains, seeks to transform the southern regions into a profitable logistics hub in the Mediterranean, in competition with the Spanish Levant and the French coast.
Italy was already on the verge of implementing the initiative in 1981, with Christian Democrat Arnaldo Forlani in government. Then the Stretto di Messina was founded, although it wasn’t until 2001 when Silvio Berlusconi took up the idea, that Romano Prodi stopped in 2006.
Once again, Sayer had certain expectations in 2011 and Mario Monti ended up eliminating any prospect of starting the business in the midst of the historic financial crisis and the austerity mandate imposed by Brussels.
Until the Council of Ministers gave the go-ahead, the Executive had tested in recent months a project to build submarine tunnels, such as the one proposed between Spain and Morocco in the Strait of Gibraltar, but this route was discarded due to the high seismicity of the region and the new wings of the old prize were awarded to WeBuild and Sacyr.
The table-top design allows for mixed traffic of trains and road vehicles, installing two carriageways with three lanes in each direction and a dual track. Among the difficulties faced by the work are winds that can exceed 150 kilometers per hour and earthquakes that reach 7 points on the Richter scale. Berlusconi promised to start work in 2006 and complete it in 2012, which would imply a six-year implementation period. If implemented, it would be one of the longest suspension bridges on the planet. Already in the last decade, Italy was considering hosting 6,000 rush hour vehicles and 200 trains a day on the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas.