Bridge over the Strait, the real obstacle will be the environmental test of the Via commission

While the controversy rages with complaints and accusations, other clouds are gathering over the Strait Bridge. The question goes like this: the Via Vas Commission appointed by the Ministry of the Environment in 2020 and which will have to give one of the most awaited opinions on the connection work between Sicily and Calabria expires in full examination of the project. And since the engines on the Bridge are running at full throttle, its renewal risks creating more than one stop in the intense and fast bureaucratic timetable aimed like a rocket at the opening of the construction site during the summer and perhaps, as many hope , before the European elections.

The Via question

The operation with the turbo will not be simple, now we have to face the examination of the Services Conference, before that of the Cipess. But in the authorization process the crux of the Via Vas Commission arises, the first, the one that examines all “ordinary” projects (there is a second which is instead intended exclusively for the simplified procedures of Pnrr projects: both are chaired by councilor Massimiliano Atelli who is also head of cabinet of the Minister of Sports Abodi). The calendar marks in red the date of May 24, when the first Commission will cease its functions. And in the corridors there is no talk of a renewal, given that on March 1st the Ministry of the Environment published on its website the expression of interest for the renewal of the 70 members. What makes the issue more thorny is the timing set by the ad hoc legislation built around the recovery of the 2011 project: for the environmental impact assessment the application will be restarted with a deadline of 90 days, given that part of the project it had already been examined in 2011 before the Bridge was canceled with a pen mark by the Monti government. But according to the calendar, the new members will find themselves with a handful of useful days to examine papers and documents all over again which, although dry of those already validated in the past, still remains a titanic undertaking.

The report of the Scientific Committee

But will it be like this? Should the Commission only deal with the parts of the project not yet examined, leaving aside those already examined? Reading the last pages of the Opinion on the designer’s report drawn up by the Strait of Messina Scientific Committee led by Alberto Prestininzi, professor at La Sapienza in Rome, the question also arises as to what should be examined by the Via. The document refers to the «legal requirement according to which the renewal of the Via procedure must be limited to the project contents affected by the requirements to be developed in the executive project and illustrated in the project report and to the project contents that have been evaluated or have been the subject of negative assessments in the procedure activated on the definitive project, the effects of which are without prejudice”. But the general contractor (the Eurolink company led by Webuild) «still believes that the SIA (environmental impact scheme) must overcome this limitation (…) to also allow an evaluation of the parts already assessed as environmentally compatible within the previous assessment carried out on the Democratic Party”. And therefore those of 2011 and 2012. If this were the case, that is, if we were inclined towards an evaluation of the entire project and not just the parts not yet examined, the risk of taking too long would be real.

The Committee’s observations

There are 68. And they range from seismic tests, to materials, to wind stability. But there is one aspect that worries observers more than others. And it is contained in a ministerial decree dated March 9th and passed over in silence. The provision effectively opens an umbrella of another two years, in addition to the 5 already foreseen, which allows the application of the old 2008 technical standards «for public contracts for works already awarded, as well as for definitive or executive projects already awarded before the date of entry into force of the technical standards for construction”. Bridge included. Indeed, the most mischievous suggest that this regulation was tailored to the Bridge, given that the project dates back to 2011 and an adaptation to the 2018 technical regulations would require a much more powerful effort (and time). Yet the Technical Committee’s report – which is not binding – talks about adaptation to the 2018 technical standards, as is obvious, given that they are the most up-to-date ones in terms of efficiency and technology.

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The experts

The Committee expressed a positive opinion but on condition that the 68 recommendations are incorporated into the executive project. The political controversy between MP Angelo Bonelli and Minister Salvini has exploded over these in recent days. Bonelli accused the owner of Porta Pia of insisting on a project in an “unscrupulous” way. Pietro Ciucci, CEO of Stretto di Messina, concessionaire of the work, also intervened in the dispute. The subject of the diatribe is the Committee’s observations.

#Bridge #Strait #real #obstacle #environmental #test #commission
2024-03-17 18:24:39

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