London, Feb.26 (ANI): Italy has announced that it will build the world's largest suspension bridge between the mainland and Sicily.
Critics say the six billion euros (5.4 billion pound) two-and-a-half mile long bridge across the Strait of Messina is too costly and have also questioned the wisdom of building it in a region that is prone to earthquakes.
According to The Telegraph, some engineers have warned that the area's huge pylons would be vulnerable to high winds.
Italy's Public Works Minister Altero Matteoli told Italian radio that it was essential to improve the ramshackle roads and railways on either side of the bridge, in Sicily and the mainland region of Calabria.
The project could get underway this year. It was first envisioned by Silvio Berlusconi in 2001-2006, but then ditched by his centre-left successor, Romano Prodi, amid concerns that it would mostly benefit construction firms run by the mafia.
Berlusconi, who was re-elected prime minister last year, has put the project back on track, insisting that it will create thousands of jobs, boost tourism and improve transport links between the 'toe' of the Italian mainland and Sicily, replacing ferry services.
The bridge would be able to handle nearly 5,000 cars an hour as well as high-speed trains.
The dream of building a bridge across the narrow strait was first envisioned by the Romans and later considered by Sicily's Norman rulers. (ANI)