Webuild and its consortium partner have won a €1.32-billion contract (~$1.41 B USD) to work on another section of a high-capacity railway under construction between Palermo and Catania in Sicily. It entails the development of 30 km of new railway to double the Fiumetorto-Lercara Junction (Lot 1+2). Commissioned by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI) (Gruppo FS Italiane), the project will support the development of infrastructure in Sicily and reduce the travel times between the island’s main cities, making rail transport more competitive.
Webuild leads the consortium with a 75% stake (including 5% held by its Seli Overseas subsidiary), while partner Ghella has 25% (including 10% owned by its subsidiary TunnelPro). Works on this new lot of the railway line will create 1,500 new jobs. Webuild and Ghella will deploy the latest in technology and construction methods to ensure the project is sustainable as possible.
This new contract brings to 19 the number of projects in which Webuild is involved in southern Italy, working closely with a supply chain of more than 3,800 businesses from the start of works. These businesses have contracts worth a combined value of €2.5 billion. Focused on sustainable mobility with the context of energy transition, the projects support the development of their respective areas to improve the competitiveness of the entire country. Not only do they contribute to the sector’s growth but also the creation of employment, especially for young people, who today represent 20% of Webuild workforce.
Along the railway being modernized to connect Palermo, Catania and Messina, Webuild, with other Italian companies, has come to work on seven sections, or lots: apart from the latest awarded contract, they include the Bicocca-Catenanuova, Nuova Enna-Dittaino and Caltanissetta Xirbi-Nuova Enna and Lercara-Caltanissetta Xirbi between Palermo and Catania; and sections Taormina-Giampilieri and Fiumefreddo-Taormina/Letojanni between Catania and Messina. Work on these sections will create a combined total of 7,300 jobs, directly and indirectly, with the involvement of more than 580 direct suppliers.
Lot 1+2 will include 20 km of parallel tunnels to accommodate travel in both directions, more than 2 km of road and rail viaducts, more than 7 km of roads, and three stations. One of the stations – Valle del Torto – will be built and the other two – Cerda and Lercara – will be upgraded. Webuild and Ghella will apply systems to recover and reuse rainwater and that used in industrial processes. They will use four tunnel-boring machines (TBMs). The stations will come equipped with systems to ensure a more efficient use of water and the capture of rain.
The new railway to connect Palermo, Catania and Messina is a strategic project for Sicily and Italy. It will make the transport of people and freight faster and more effective across the island, reducing travel times between Palermo and Catania by one hour, to two hours.