Challenging the Elements and the Mafia Could the Worlds Longest Suspension Bridge Transform Sicily

The dream of a bridge connecting Sicily to mainland Italy has been in the works for over 2,000 years, and now Italy’s government wants to make it a reality by building the world’s longest suspension bridge across the Strait of Messina. However, the project is not without its challenges. With a cost of 4.5 billion euros ($4.96 billion) for the bridge alone and 6.75 billion euros ($7.4 billion) for the infrastructure to support it, including upgrading road and rail links and building terminals, concerns over the Mafia, earthquakes, and the environment are at the forefront. The southern region of Italy is prone to corruption, with the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta and the Sicilian Cosa Nostra often infiltrating construction projects. Additionally, the Strait of Messina is along a fault line where a devastating earthquake in 1908 killed over 100,000 people and spawned tsunamis that devastated coastal areas on both sides of the water. Despite these challenges, the government claims that building the bridge will provide a significant boost to the local economy. However, the project must first overcome significant obstacles, both geophysical and criminal, before it can become a reality.