Venice

Venice tidal-protection project 'held up by sagging funds'

'Government funding spread thin' say builders

Venice tidal-protection project 'held up by sagging funds'

(ANSA) - Venice, July 24 - The controversial, colossal MOSE project to shield Venice from the sea may not be completed until 2016 due to lagging state funding, builders said Tuesday. "The decision is tied to the fact that government funding is spreading thin," Ciriaco D'Alessio, the head of the northeastern Italian water authority, told the local Gazzettino daily. Originally scheduled for completion in 2014, the 4.7-billion-euro project is still on schedule to become partially functional in 2013, according to Consorzio Venezia Nuova, the building team. MOSE is an acronym that in Italian also means Moses, the Biblical figure who parted the Red Sea. Cement blocks as large as four-storey buildings are being built and installed to support a system of 78 mobile barriers along the exterior of the Venetian lagoon. These barriers are intended to stem the assault of unusually high tides and sea storms at three entrances to the Venetian Lagoon, and protect Venice from severe seasonal flooding. The MOSE project has come under criticism by environmental and conservationist groups for its high cost and they say, irreversible impact on the lagoon, whose ecosystem will be harmed by blocking the natural flow of tides.

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