Freitag, Mai 16, 2008

il Ponte, World's largest suspension bridge planned between Sicily and mainland Italy

In an effort to improve the country's transport infrastructure, Italy's government is reportedly going ahead with previously shelved plans to construct a bridge between Sicily and the mainland. Overseas Property Professional (OPP) reports on the new development and the demand in the property market on the island. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government has pledged over €4 billion in the short-term to improve the state of Italy's transportation network. As part of the initiative the plans for the road-rail bridge have been brought back to the forefront, after originally being shelved in 2001. Following Berlusconi's re-election in April, it has been reported that the project has finally been given the green light. The end result will, as Italy’s largest developer Impreglio told news agency Reuters, be the world's largest suspension bridge, built at an estimated cost of over €3 billion. Multi-national Impreglio are believed to be heading the consortium building the bridge.

The bridge will be of great benefit to investors in Sicily's property market, as Jeremy Smith of told OPP: "Sicily is a very under-resourced area and the new government has pledged a lot of money to help this, with the suspension bridge being a pet project of Berlusconi's. The north east of Sicily will benefit the most from this and the best part about the possible bridge development is that it will allow a continuous link from Rome down to the island."

The main problem that Smith envisaged was the time-scale of the project, as he explained: "The only reservations I have, as with any public works in Italy, is championing them. It takes a lot of time here and this will be at least seven to nine years away." He added that it was currently low-cost airlines driving the growth of the property market on Sicily.

Smith also commented on the demand for property on the island and told OPP that UK and US investors were prominent players in the market, although demand from them was waning as their respective currencies perform poorly against the Euro. Nevertheless, interest is still apparent and there are two new emerging buyer groups; the Irish, who purchase in Euros, and the Russians
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