Italian companies are likely to be awarded a contract to construct the $11bn Messina bridge between Sicily with Calabria in mainland Italy, according to Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Matteo Salvini, reported Reuters.

According to the news agency, a consortium led by Italian construction company Webuild is likely to be awarded this deal by the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.

Although Webuild (formerly Salini Impregilo) had won the European tender for this bridge in 2006, the plan for its construction was later withdrawn due to concerns regarding high costs.

Last month, the government approved a decree to recommence the project.

Several foreign companies had expressed interest in the project, but Salvini felt that the original Italian group should keep the contract.

Commenting further, Salvini said: “In five months of government, we have reactivated what has been a dream of millions of Italians for centuries, there are historical quotes from centuries and centuries ago about the bridge.

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“The project aims to be the largest public work on the European continent and the largest green public work on the European continent since the beginning of the century.”

Speaking to foreign reporters, Salvini added that the project would create an estimated 100,000 jobs.

Several governments previously considered the idea, but the project never took off, reported Reuters.

According to Salvini, the work is expected to begin in mid-2024.

This 3.3km bridge will withstand earthquakes and high winds.

Although the bridge is not eligible to get funding from the EU-supported post-Covid recovery plan, the government is holding discussions with the EU transport commissioner and the European Investment Bank to receive other financing facilities.