Third pass and Gronda, thorns in the side of the road system

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Infrastructure, in particular road infrastructure, represents a crucial node for the development of the Ligurian territory and its economy. It is logical, therefore, that local institutions and the Region are working hard to accelerate its implementation. However, despite the efforts, the commissioner paths, also created with the support of the Government, and the push given to those works that can benefit from Pnrr funds, the Ligurian infrastructural situation remains complex. Also thanks, paradoxically, to the works started to improve roads and connections, which have continuous repercussions on traffic, both road and rail.

As emerges from the recent annual report by Thea (The European House Ambrosetti), on Action priorities for the growth and competitiveness of the territory Ligurian, infrastructure “remains a critical issue for the area, even if important investments are underway”. The construction of the Third Giovi railway crossing, for example, suffered yet another postponement of delivery times during 2023. Until 2020 it was assumed that it could be ready (or almost) by 2024, then the date was moved to 2025 and, finally, to 2026. The date could not be further deferred because the work is also linked to Pnrr funds and if, as cannot be excluded, there were another postponement, those resources would be lost. Meanwhile, in mid-January the first 8.5 kilometers of the new line were inaugurated, between Rivalta Scrivia and Tortona, which allowed (finally) the return of regional trains between Tortona and Novi Ligure.

Another critical infrastructure is the Gronda di Genova, a new stretch of motorway whose route detaches from the A12 at the Genova Est junction, bypasses Genoa crossing the hinterland and reconnects to the A10, also intercepting the A7 for Milan and the A26. The objective is to collect the long-distance flows and free the urban section of the A10 from Genoa West to Voltri, making it a sort of city ring road. This work, financed by Autostrade per l’Italia, is also chronically late. Its planning, which in 2022 was expected to be ready and lacking only the signature of the Minister of Transport, was at the center of the political dispute between members of the current majority – when it was (partly) in opposition – and the Draghi Government. The fall of that executive and the victory, in the last elections, of those who claimed that the approval of the work could be closed in a few months did not, in reality, unblock the situation. It was understood that the definitive “ready” project, in reality, also due to the changed cost conditions that had occurred, needed to be adjusted.

«We plan to re-present the Gronda project approximately between June and July 2024», said the CEO of Aspi, Roberto Tomasi, in recent weeks. The works on lot zero of the Gronda, he wanted to underline, have actually already begun and the preparatory works are being prepared to start the other construction sites as soon as the Gronda project is authorized. In the meantime, the expected completion of the work has been postponed beyond 2030. And the construction of the doubling of the Pontremoli railway line will also take place beyond the next six years. While the doubling of the Finale-Andora, barring postponements, should be completed in 2028. To ease the heavy traffic in Genoa, on the other hand, the penultimate part of the San Benigno road junction was inaugurated, built by the Aspi group to change traffic flows between the Genoa Ovest motorway toll booth and the rest of the city, allowing direct access for heavy vehicles to the port and a direct connection with the elevated road of the capital.

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