Santomarco Tunnel: more controversies pause project for Scan-Med Corridor
The project made by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (Group FS) for the expansion of the Santomarco Tunnel, in Southern Italy, recently hit a controversial stop. Last week, in a meeting held in Paola, attended among others by mayors of the neighbouring cities, a formal act of dissent was approved and will be presented to FS. The discovery of an FS document deemed irregular caused further concern.
Among the most worrying issues that transpired from the meeting, there are the environmental impact of the project and the possible health-related issues that it could cause to the people living in the surrounding areas.
These worries are justified by the fact that FS is planning to pierce and dig into a mountain that likely hides asbestos deposits. Moreover, locals are not fully on board with the idea of having at least 13 daily trains, 750 meters long, whizzing through the shoreline to reach the port of Gioia Tauro.
“With this act, we intend to interrupt the process started by FS,” said Giovanni Politano, mayor of Paola, highlighting that the ideas of the document are shared by a significant portion of the Cosenza provice.
The bone of contention: Italferr’s rushed document
The debate further heated up when it was discovered that Italferr, the consulting and project subsidiary for FS, published a contentious document. Said document officialised the beginning of the process of expropriation of land necessary for the project.
However, the document was published by Italferr before the meeting in Paola, taking for granted that its outcome would be favourable. They were wrong, as many citizens expressed their concerns at the meeting in Paola. Now the ball is in FS’ hands for further developments.
FS’ projects for Calabria: the new Santomarco Tunnel
Among the projects in the Industrial Plan published by Group FS there is the implementation of high-velocity for the Salerno-Reggio Calabria line, in the South of Italy. The expansion of the Santomarco Tunnel, in the Cosenza-Paola – San Lucido section has been at the center of the recent public debate. Once completed, the tunnel is expected to boost rail freight from the port of Gioia Tauro through Bari and the TEN-T Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor.
Initial geognostic investigations were carried out in June by Group FS and the estimated costs for the expansion of the tunnel revolve around 1.2 billion €. The project consists of the doubling of the rail track between Cosenza-Paola and San Lucido. However, contracts and procurations for the renovation have not been assigned yet, making it difficult to predict accurate costs and construction times. FS claims that the Santomarco Tunnel project should be ready by 2030.