Some 76,5 kilometers of high speed railways will suffice to change Northern Italy’s transport system and much of its connections with the rest of Europe.
The Verona-Padua line, which will be built in three phases, and will allow high speed trains to cross the center of Vicenza has this mission: unify in one modern and sustainable route Milan with Venice, serving 75% of Italy’s population with high speed trains.
It will be a revolution for people and for goods as well, since the high velocity/high capacity project involves the transportation of cargo too. It’s a unique project because in addition to connecting Northern Italy from East to West, the new line will also link up with the Terzo Valico dei Giovi, that is the Genoa-Milan line, and the crossing of the Brenner pass that will link Italy’s Fortezza to Innsbruck in Austria.
The three tranches unifying the North
The Verona-Padua project is divided into three tranches. The first segment is 44.2 kms long, from Verona to Vicenza. Work has already begun and part of the project is assigned to the Webuild group. The second tranche, 6.2 kms long, will cross the city of Vicenza. It is in the final stages of garnering all the necessary permits and awaits the government’s approval and funding. The third segment, 26 kms long, aims to reach Padua and its project is in the final planning phases. So while the second and third segments are finalizing planning and permits, work on the first phase proceeds rapidly.
“In 2023 we expect to open all the construction sites of the first segment and realize some important scaffolding,” said Paolo Carmona, Webuild engineer and general manager of the Iricav consortium charged with completing the work.
The Verona-Vicenza segment includes 6 kms of viaducts with spans of up to 78 meters in length. Some of these viaducts will be begun this year, others in 2024.
Once the entire line is completed, Vicenza will have a new look. In addition to the construction of a new station inside the city and the high speed rail crossing the urban area, the project includes a 12 kms route for electrical busses to connect the eastern and western parts of the city to the station.
“This project will give rise to a huge change for this area,” Carmona said. “The line’s crossing of Vicenza will make the urban area more sustainable, improving the mobility between northern and southern neighborhoods. In addition, the entire line is built side by side with the existing one, without interrupting the old one’s operations, which underlines the technical complexity of the work and the project’s attention to the residents’ needs.”
This sustainable approach underlines the entire goal of the project. It is estimated that the new line will reduce by 298,000 tons Co2 emissions and halve the time it takes to travel on this route.
Young employees and companies at work on the Verona-Padua high speed sites
The Verona-Padua line is one of the public works funded by the PNRR, Italy’s plan for infrastructure and economic investments partially supported by EU funds. It is a large project for Italy, essential for the modernization of the country and for creating jobs and train hundreds of young workers.
“Just last year Iricav hired 110 employees,” Carmona said. “Of these, 20% are less than 30 years old, and another 20% are between 30 and 40 years old, showing the willingness to invest on youth and form the talent of the future.”
Training is in fact a key component of this project that requires very high levels of technical skills.
“A commission of this nature must be able to produce professionals of all sorts,” Carmona said.
Which is why Webuild it talking with a number of universities and other educational institutions to set up partnerships aimed at training and finding work for their graduates.
Younger workers are already part of the considerable work force active on the project, including engineers, technicians and construction workers as well as 500 supplier companies involved in all the production processes. That is another element of the wealth a large public work like the Verona-Padua line, the high speed railway that will connect Northern Italy from East to West, brings to the community.