Interview with Giovanni Castellucci, CEO of Atlantia and Autostrade per l’Italia
The Genoa Bypass (Gronda di Genova) is one of Europe’s largest infrastructural projects. The plan involves the construction of 61 km of new motorway routes and will be developed almost entirely underground, due to the orographic challenges of the territory concerned. It includes 23 tunnels, for a total of approximately 50 kilometers, equivalent to about 81% of the entire route. The outdoor works comprise the construction of 13 new viaducts and the expansion of 11 existing viaducts.
Due to the length of the tunnels and the total volume of excavations, the work is comparable to the Variante di Valico, also created by Autostrade per l'Italia on the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, and to the major railway works built in Europe, from the Gottardo railway tunnel, to the high speed railway Bologna-Florence and the tunnel under the Channel.
The Gronda, whose estimated cost amounts to 4.3 billion euros, will require ten years of work and will allow:
The Genoa bypass route is the result of careful planning and consultations with local authorities and Genoese citizens.
The project has passed all the cost-benefit tests carried out over the years and is accompanied by an Environmental Monitoring Plan, developed in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of the Environment.
On May 28th Giovanni Castellucci, CEO of Atlantia and Autostrade per l'Italia illustrated the works for the construction of the Genoa Bypass at a meeting with the local authorities.
Mr Castellucci, can we finally announce the start of the Gronda?
"The Gronda project was launched in 2001 and I've been dealing with it since then, I've been following it for all these years but now we're starting. It was the first project for which a public debate took place, a method that allowed the plan to be approved in a significantly shorter period of time than that recorded for other major works. And after the consultation, the project has been markedly improved. The Gronda is definitely the most complex intervention ever faced by Autostrade per l'Italia. "
When will we see the first works?
"We have the final authorization of the project by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, the approval of the financial plan and we are finalizing the last details of the executive project. We are implementing the land acquisitions and the calls for tenders will be issued by the end of the year. The first works might not be very visible but have already started: we are talking about preparatory works, like the removal of obstacles and the set up of the construction sites at the entrance of the excavations. The activity will increase in the coming months, while the real works will start next year with the calls for tender, which we plan to publish by the end of 2018".
The bypass is not the only intervention planned by Autostrade per l’Italia in Genoa: is that correct?
In fact, the Gronda involves the construction of a series of closely related works in the Genoese territory, with direct benefits for the whole transport system - not just the motorway - and for the community in general. I am referring to the interchange parking in West Genoa, the first one to be built in the city and to the new flyover for trucks, directly connecting the port of Genoa to the highway. Finally, there are works to secure the airport: a good amount of the excavation material coming from the construction of the natural tunnels for the Gronda di Genova - about 9 million cubic meters - will be relocated near the current Genoa airport. It will be included in the so-called “work at sea”, which will allow a 50-meter sediment tank to be built, ensuring the adaptation of the Genoa Airport Runway strip (the side buffer of the airport runway).
Do you think the implementation of the project could still encounter difficulties at this stage?
"Our job is to carry out projects, propose them to the institutions and finalize them. I do not make assessments in the future, I can only say that unlike other great works, this one enjoys strong support from local citizens. A recent survey shows that over 70% of the people in the region of Liguria are in favor of the Genoa Bypass. This is the result of the quality work we have done to choose the route, also through public debate."
1 The interview is a compendium of the statements made by Mr Castellucci and published by the Italian newspapers "Il Secolo XIX", "La Repubblica" and "Il Sole 24 ore" on the 29th of May 2018