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Sat 7 Apr 2007 12:00 AM

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Impregilo to fight for Messina

Contractor leading the group set to build the record-breaking bridge will take action against the Italian government.

Italian construction firm Impregilo has said it will take action against the Italian government to ensure the Messina bridge project goes ahead.

The company signed a US $5.2 billion (EUR3.9 billion) deal to execute planning and construction of the bridge over the Straits of Messina, linking Sicily to the region of Calabria in mainland Italy, in November 2005.

But the project has been marred with controversy, including public protests over the potential environmental damage the bridge could cause.

The project has also been postponed by Romano Prodi's new government because of insufficient funds.

Impregilo's chief executive, Alberto Lina, said the company was preparing to take action to defend its rights, with legal proceedings possibly beginning in around a month's time, reported


He added that the contract is still valid and that there was ambiguity as to whether or not the government wanted to cancel or continue with the project.

The contract was awarded to a consortium led by Impregilo and includes Spain's Sacyr and Japan's Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries.

Other companies involved in the initial contract signing included Italy's Società Italiana per Condotte D'Aqua and Cooperativa Muratori & Cementisti-CMC, along with Danish and Canadian engineering companies Cowi, Sund & Baelt and Buckland & Taylor.

The contract involved the construction of the bridge in addition to related road and rail links and was expected to take five years to complete. It would create a bridge with a single span of 3.3km, much longer than the current record of 1.9km.

The 10-lane bridge would be capable of flexing 9m during earthquakes of up to 7.1 on the Richter scale.

Italian authorities have been considering building a bridge between the mainland and Sicily since the 1960s.

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