Construction starts on Europe’s largest underwater tunnel in Genoa, Italy

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Italy has started construction work on record-breaking underwater tunnel, the Genoa sub-port tunnel, set to be the longest in Italy and the largest in Europe in terms of diameter, and fourth largest in world.

Italy has started construction on an underwater tunnel in the north-western port city of Genoa, in what is the first of its kind in the country, and the longest in Italy and the largest in Europe in terms of diameter, spearheaded by Matteo Salvini, Minister of Transport, and Deputy Prime Minister, with designs by renowned architect Renzo Piano. The groundbreaking ceremony marks the start of construction and signifies a transformative leap towards enhancing urban mobility and environmental sustainability along the Ligurian Sea coast.

At a depth of 45 meters below sea level, the 3.4-kilometer-long, Genoa sub-port tunnel promises to revolutionize travel dynamics in the region by offering speedy 70 kilometers per hour passage for road vehicles, thereby alleviating surface traffic congestions. As highlighted by Salvini during the event, this transformative initiative not only stands as a monumental achievement for the city but also sets a new benchmark in European infrastructure with its unmatched scale and design.

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Construction starts on Europe's largest underwater tunnel in Genoa, Italy
Construction starts on Europe’s largest underwater tunnel in Genoa, Italy

Construction timeline for the Genoa sub-port tunnel

The project, based on a masterplan by the celebrated Italian architect Renzo Piano, includes two main separate tunnels, one for each direction. The project is scheduled to open to traffic in the summer of 2029, according to the government and the developers.

“It fills me with pride to inaugurate today a construction site poised to redefine the landscape of Genoa in the coming years,” explains Genoa’s Mayor, Marco Bucci. “The sub-port tunnel signifies a pivotal project set to enhance traffic flow in our city while prioritizing safety and sustainability, particularly from an environmental standpoint. It heralds a genuine revolution for Genoa, an unparalleled infrastructure in Italy, and one of the most forward-thinking endeavors in Europe presently. From its conception, we’ve held steadfast belief in this project, recognizing it as an engineering feat of the highest caliber. Together with the new Waterfront, the Dam, and the Lanterna Park, it will utterly transform this section of the city. We stand prepared to tackle this new challenge head-on, as months of intensive labor lie ahead to realize the vision of the new sub-port tunnel, propelling Genoa boldly into the future.”

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Genoa sub-port tunnel focus on environment

Thanks to Europe’s largest underwater tunnel, the Genoa sub-port tunnel it will be possible to save more than 1 million hours of travel each year, and it comes with positive repercussions also in environmental terms. The city will acquire 10 hectares of new park spaces, which will be complete with cycle and pedestrian paths, thereby enriching the city’s recreational and ecological assets. The new parks will thus become an integral part of the Genoese landscape system, recalling its characteristics and the history of its territory, its gardens, parks, squares, and seafront, in favor of a structural continuity of green systems to defend and support quality environment and biodiversity. The Genoa sub-port tunnel project, thanks to the contribution of local institutions based on the Genoa master plan drawn up by Studio Renzo Piano and under the supervision of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, is an expression of the synergy between the companies of the Aspi Group, starting with Tecne, engineering company that oversaw the design, up to Amplia, the first construction company for activities at a national level, which will take care of the first phase of work.

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Following the preparatory works already started in 2023, the works start with the demolition of the large CSM industrial warehouse, by two massive cranes with grapples, thus opening up to the city and an area of ​​over 25,000 square meters which will be the western entrance to the tunnel, from which the excavations will start. With a 3.4 kilometers long route, made up of two separate main tunnels, one for each direction of travel, with an external excavation diameter of approximately 16 meters, which will run at a maximum depth of -45 meters under sea level, The Genoa sub-port tunnel project, thanks to an investment of approximately 1 billion euros, the project ranks as the longest in Italy and the largest in Europe in terms of diameter.

A milestone for Europe’s infrastructure

The Genoa sub-port underwater tunnel is poised to be the largest of its kind in Europe and the fourth largest globally, it represents a monumental stride in engineering and architectural excellence. With big names like Salvini and Piano at the helm, the project not only exemplifies Italy’s prowess in innovative infrastructure but also sets a precedent for sustainable urban development across Europe. As the construction of the tunnel progresses, the tunnel is set to redefine the parameters of transportation efficiency, environmental stewardship, and quality of urban life.

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