The external scientific committee chosen to assess the feasibility of the bridge over the Strait of Messina gave a positive opinion on the work. But in the 51 pages of his report, he also pointed out 68 “gaps” or critical problems in the final Eurolink draft. And so, after the investigation by the Rome prosecutor's office which focuses on the signatures arrived within 24 hours and on the missing documents, another controversy erupts over the infrastructure desired by Minister Matteo Salvini. The committee requests that its observations and recommendations be followed in the executive project. And the results are significant. They concern the absence of adequate tests on the joint, the material to be used, the dangers in the event of an earthquake. There is therefore a risk of extending construction site opening times. Which will not open before the European Championships.

The problems of the Great Work

In the report, the scientific committee focuses on four fundamental critical questions. One of the first points is that the commission “considers it appropriate to verify in more depth the robustness of the bridge structure”. And it requires the carrying out of “non-linear analyzes of the deck subjected to turbulent winds”. The four critical issues, he explains today RepublicI am:

  • increased control of the effects of wind: “The assessment retained by the final 2011 plan must be updated”;
  • controls of seismicity and seismic risk “in the face of the major earthquakes that have recently occurred around the world”;
  • updates to structural analyzes to examine functionality scenarios even in extreme events;
  • the use of new materials and to clarify how and where the steel necessary for the new rules on elasticity will come from.

This is why yesterday the deputy of Alleanza Verdi Sinistra, Angelo Bonelli, attacked Salvini himself: “No seismic test was carried out, nor a test for the wind.” And the “Eurolink Consortium responds that they were not made so as not to waste time”.

Seismic testing of the project

The MP referred to page 47 of the technical-scientific report of the special commission called to evaluate the project: “Do you want to build this work in the most seismic zone in Italy without carrying out these tests? You are unscrupulous. Piero Ciucci, CEO of the Stretto di Messina company, responded: “It is technically surprising because Bonelli cites pages from a document that we have made available, but does not cite the fundamental page which is page 45 in which the Scientific Committee unanimously expresses a positive opinion on the project, that is to say on the designer's report, which is the update of the project provided for by Legislative Decree 35″. The company explains that the seismogenic potential of the strait area “is not capable of producing earthquakes of a magnitude greater than that of the design envisaged for the bridge (Richter scale 7.1)”.

Earthquakes and winds

Whereas with an earthquake with a return period of 2000 years, “the bridge remains essentially elastic, that is to say it does not suffer damage”. Regarding the wind tests, Ciucci explained that for the executive project “wind tunnel tests were carried out on 11 Ponte models.” The designer called on five different laboratories among the largest and specialized in the world, in Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Germany. And as part of the independent monitoring, the project manager consultant from Stretto di Messina carried out “tests in 3 wind tunnels” in Milan and Canada. Precisely to “guarantee the certainty” of the results. Analytical and experimental tests “demonstrate the stability of the bridge up to wind speeds above 275 km/h”.

The complaint

That is to say a speed that “we can expect in the strait on average once every 2000 years”: the maximum speed recorded in “more than twenty years of monitoring was 128 km/h”, underlines the company. Salvini responded in Parliament: “It is simply insane to assume that the government is building a bridge destined to collapse. ” But Bonelli replied: “I read the entire report, including pages 13-14-15-47-48 which Ciucci may not have read. It is for this reason that I will be obliged to integrate the complaint filed with the public prosecutor's office with the report of the scientific committee.”

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