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Breaking Records: World’s Longest Suspension Bridge Set to Connect Sicily and Mainland Italy (Watch)


A model of the suspension bridge along the Strait of Messina (Image credit: The Wall Street Journal)

After decades of planning and deliberation, it appears that the construction of a suspension bridge linking Sicily to mainland Italy over the Strait of Messina could finally see progress this year. The recent approval of the final design marks a significant step forward for the long-awaited project.

If realized, the bridge would boast impressive dimensions, stretching over 3,290 meters (10,800 feet), potentially making it the world’s longest suspension bridge. The proposed structure includes three vehicle lanes and a central lane designated for rail transport. Engineered to withstand extreme conditions, such as winds of up to 290 kilometers per hour (180 miles per hour) and seismic events of up to 7.1 magnitudes, the bridge showcases advancements in engineering and infrastructure technology.

Originating from discussions in the 1960s, the project has faced numerous hurdles over the years, experiencing periods of stagnation and revival under different governmental administrations. Critics have raised questions about the project’s feasibility and economic implications, while proponents see it as a potential boon for regional connectivity and development.

 Video of the plans and context behind building the suspension bridge  (Credit: The Impossible Build)

The recent approval of the 2011 design, with some modifications, signifies progress toward realizing this ambitious vision. Spearheaded by the state-owned sponsor Stretto di Messina SpA (SdM) and led by the Eurolink consortium, which includes Webuild SpA and other notable entities, the project has garnered significant attention both nationally and internationally.

Despite the enthusiasm surrounding the project’s potential, challenges remain, particularly regarding the environmental and geological factors of the Messina Strait region. Engineers and experts involved in the project have conducted thorough assessments and implemented innovative solutions to address these concerns.

As the project moves forward, further reviews and the formulation of a financing plan are underway. The commitment from Matteo Salvini, the Minister for Infrastructure, to commence construction in 2024 underscores the government’s determination to see this project through to completion.

The proposed Sicily-Italy bridge represents a significant milestone in Italy’s infrastructure development, offering the promise of enhanced connectivity and economic opportunities for the region. While the road ahead may present obstacles, the collective effort to realize this ambitious endeavor reflects a commitment to progress and innovation in the realm of transportation and engineering.

 The Messina Strait (Credit: The Times)

Systems Engineering Perspective

From a systems engineering perspective, the Sicily-Italy bridge represents a complex integration of various components and disciplines, including structural design, materials science, environmental analysis, and risk management. The success of the project hinges on the seamless coordination and collaboration among these diverse elements, highlighting the importance of a holistic approach to large-scale infrastructure development. Through meticulous planning, rigorous testing, and continuous evaluation, engineers aim to ensure the safety, resilience, and efficiency of the bridge, ultimately delivering a transformative asset for the region and beyond.


Reina, Peter 2024, ‘Italy Advances Design for World’s Longest Suspension Bridge Over Messina Strait’, Engineering News-Record, viewed 5th March 2024, <>

Sylvers, Eric 2023, ‘Italy Says it Will Build the Longest Suspension Bridge in the World’, The Wall Street Journal, viewed 5th March 2024, <>

Bahadursingh, Nathaniel 2024, ‘World’s longest suspension bridge is moving forward in Italy after decades of pushback and delays’, Archinect News, viewed 5th March 2024, <>

Sabelli, Chiara 2024, ‘A bridge too far? Messina Strait project could finally join Sicily to the mainland’, Nature Italy, viewed 5th March 2024, <>

The Impossible Build 2024, Italy’s $5BN Battle To Build The World’s Longest Suspension Bridge’, viewed 5th March 2024, <>

Willan, Philip 2023, ‘Italy resurrects dream of a bridge to Sicily’, The Times, viewed 7th March 2024, <>


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