University of Messina academics organise against planned bridge

The project would be the world's longest suspension bridge

  ROME — More than 200 Università di Messina professors, lettori, and administrators called planned construction of the Strait of Messina bridge “untenable” in an online manifesto. 

 Pliny the Elder and Charlemagne both advocated for a bridge spanning the Strait of Messina and, this March, after 2000-odd years of scrapped plans, budget constraints, and political back-and-forth-ing, Prime Minister Meloni’s government announced that construction would begin this summer. 

 The bridge will cost 11 billion euros and take an estimated eight years to build. The 3.6 kilometres between Sicily’s Torre Faro and Reggio Calabria’s Villa San Giovanni would make it the longest suspension bridge in the world. 

 And “on the economic, environmental, social, cultural, legal, and technical levels,” argued the 215 signatories of the University of Messina petition, the project will be a failure. 

 The anti-bridge academics, who include anthropology professor Mario Bolognari, former mayor of Taormina, “Believe it is necessary to take a clear position against the work,” they wrote. 

 They cited negative ecological consequences “presented during the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure,” a “lack of transparency of decision-making processes” and evaluation of research, and “serious” adverse effects on the “social and urban fabric of a construction site that will last more than a decade.” 

 The academics wrote that their next step is a public assembly, time and place to be announced.