The IRICAV 2 consortium led by the Webuild Group has signed a contract worth a total of about €2.5 billion to start work on the first section of a high-speed/high-capacity railway being developed between Verona and Padua and commissioned by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI) (Gruppo FS Italiane). The signing comes as the Group forges ahead with Progetto Italia, a strategy to consolidate and strengthen Italy’s infrastructure sector. The Group owns 83% of the consortium (Webuild 45.44%, Astaldi 37.49%) and Hitachi Rail STS.
The section, which will comprise a total investment of €2.7 billion by RFI with a completion date of 2027, will run for 44.2 km between Verona and Bivio Vicenza, crossing 13 municipalities. By quadrupling the existing railway, it will improve the quality of the train service and strengthen its links to a European network, helping reduce the impact on the environment as well as the number of road accidents.
In Verona Webuild Chief Executive Pietro Salini said: “Just days after delivering the Genoa Bridge, we are very happy to start a new strategic project, this time for mobility in Veneto. It is another piece of infrastructure that we hope will involve a long supply chain, running from north to south. It comes after the start of work on the Ionian highway in Calabria and on the Nodo Ferroviario in Genoa. From south to north, Italy is starting up again, and it is doing it with infrastructure, bringing work to the regions. We are proud to be able to bring our expertise to this project in order to relaunch the country where we have our roots”.
In Italy, the Group employs about 11,000 people directly and indirectly, a number that is set to rise to 15,000 by 2022. About 85% of the people work in small- and medium-sized companies in the supply chain, as was the case for the new bridge in Genoa with 330 businesses. The collaboration with the supply chain plays an important role in the development of the local economy, spurring growth and jobs in both the north and south of Italy, especially among the young.
The project, worth a total of €2.47 billion, will see work start immediately on a €874 million part of the first section. The other €1.596 billion for the second part of the section will be financed within 12 months. The investment being made on the entire length of the railway between Verona and Padua is estimated at €4.8 billion, €4.2 billion of which is available to the general contractor. It represents an important link across the country’s northeast. It also serves as an example of how infrastructure can bring employment and foster economic revival. Work on the first section is to create about 4,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The project, part of the high-speed/high-capacity railway between Milan and Venice, will belong to the Mediterranean Corridor that will link Spain and Ukraine. One of the strategic trans-European transport corridors (the so-called TEN-T core network), it will connect southwestern European countries with countries to the east. The Corridor will support traffic between Europe and Asia. In Europe, meanwhile, it will handle traffic between the southern and eastern regions. With the addition of the line between Milan and Venice to the national network, 75% of the Italian population will have access to high-speed rail service.
“The Genova model has shown that we have before us a great opportunity. Thanks to technical expertise and efficiency and constructive collaboration among institutions, clients and private business, we can finally take on the country’s infrastructure challenges that have existed and been on stand-by for too long. It will also provide opportunities for our young people. We hope that this new project follows the lesson learned from the Genoa Bridge: to build quickly while maintaining quality,” said Salini.
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