INFRASTRUCTURE manager Italian Rail Network (RFI) has awarded a consortium of Webuild, Ghella and Impresa Pizzarotti two construction contracts in southern Italy with a combined value of more than €3.7bn.

The first contract, worth more than €2bn, is for Lot 1A of the new Salerno -Reggio Calabria high-speed line between Battipaglia and Romagnano. The line will form part of the TEN-T network’s Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor.

The 35km Lot 1A involves both design and construction of a 300km/h section of track. It includes the building of approximately 14km of tunnels to be excavated using tunnel-boring machines (TBMs), more than 6km of viaducts and nearly 5km of cut and cover tunnels. There will also be a junction built at Romagnano to connect the new line with the Battipaglia - Metaponto - Potenza line. The contract is expected to create more than 2000 jobs.

The second contract, worth €1.65bn, is for the construction of Lot 3 of the Palermo - Catania line between Lercara and Caltanissetta Xirbi in Sicily. The Palermo - Catania line will also form part of the TEN-T network’s Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor and is designed to cut the journey time between Palermo and Catania by 60 minutes to two hours.

A map graphic showing the location and statistics for the Lot 3 Lercara - Caltanissetta Xirbi section of the Palermo - Catania line. Picture credit: Webuild

The 47km Lot 3 involves the construction of the new section plus more than 22km of tunnels excavated using TBMs. There will also be 11km of viaducts, 32km of trackbed construction and the renovation of Vallelunga station. An estimated 1500 jobs will be created by this contract, both directly and indirectly.

Both contracts are financed by Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Webuild leads the joint venture with a 60% stake, with Ghella and Impresa Pizzarotti both holding 20% stakes.

Earlier this month RFI awarded a consortium of Webuild and Ghella the €1.2bn Lot 4A contract to build the adjoining 27km Caltanissetta Xirbi - Nuova Enna section of the Palermo - Catania line. The latest award of the Lot 3 contract means Webuild is now working on six lots along the new railway connecting Palermo, Catania and Messina, involving more than 580 direct suppliers, half of which are from the region.

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