A consortium led by Italian construction company Webuild has secured a €1.2bn contract to upgrade a high-capacity railway between Palermo and Catania in Sicily, Italy.

According to the contract, Webuild and its consortium partners will develop a 27km section between Caltanissetta Xirbi and Nuova Enna, which is part of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) corridor.

A key project for Sicily and Italy, the new Palermo-Catania-Messina axis will be connected to the TEN-T Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor.

It is expected to cut travel times between Palermo and Catania by one to two hours.

The consortium will be responsible for preparing the executive design and construction of Lot 4A of the railway.

Lot 4A will have a new rail line constructed next to the current one and 20km of tunnels.

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The route will be traversed by viaducts for three miles.

Webuild will own a 75% stake in the consortium while its partner Ghella will own the remaining interest.

Webuild will work with its subsidiary SELI Overseas, as well as Ghella and TunnelPro.

The project is commissioned by Italian railway infrastructure manager Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI) and financed by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR in Italian).

With the addition of this contract, Webuild will now be developing five lots, or sections, along the Palermo-Catania-Messina rail axis, with a total estimated value of €3.6bn.

It is estimated that work on these five lots will lead to the creation of up to 4,300 direct and indirect jobs.

More than 580 direct suppliers, half of whom are from southern Italy and the islands, will directly participate.

With the latest contract win, Webuild has 17 projects under construction in southern Italy and the islands.

The company said that more than 3,800 enterprises have been involved in the supply chain.