Crowds watched as the bridge began taking shape. It’s the first built in more than seventy years over the famous Italian waterway. The central part of the bridge measures sixty metres long and weighs two hundred and forty five tons. The project has been beset by controversies over its impact on the city’s landscape and access for the disabled. The bridge was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
Some Venetians are unhappy about Calatrava, a non local, being selected as the architect. Others say only tourists will benefit. One local man said: “My family has lived here for the past two hundred and fifty years. This is my house and it will be good for me to see all these people walking on this street. But still, Calatrava is not for me.” A local woman had this comment: “There are already three bridges, so making a new one to connect Piazzale Roma to the railway station seems absurd to me. I think it is just for tourists.”
Many Venetians are critical of the price tag for the new bridge running at more than ten million Euros, which is double its original budget announced in 2001. The bridge is expected to be fully operational by the end of this year.