Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Probe into metro 'threat' to Colosseum

English
© ANSA

Rome, May 2 - A regional audit court has launched
an investigation into the delayed construction of Rome's metro C
line over concerns surrounding the foundation of the Colosseum
and rising public costs, Italian heritage and environmental
group Italia Nostra said Thursday.
The probe comes "following our serious concerns announced
April 12," said the group, citing the "chance that the stability
of the Colosseum could be at risk, that construction costs could
rise, and that the economy and tourism to the city could be
damaged".
Last year the national audit court said in a 182-page
report that Rome's newest subway track appeared destined to
become the slowest and most expensive construction project in
Italian and European Union history, and risked not being
finished.
"All of the problems, vices and defects of public works in
Italy are visible," said Audit Court President Luigi Giampaolino
at the time.
Building the C line, Rome's third underground line, has
cost the city over five billion euros in public funds - three
billion more than initially forecast when building began in
1990.
It was originally slated for completion in 2000 when
millions came to Rome to celebrate the Catholic Church's Year of
Jubilee.
A more recent deadline was 2020, when Rome was angling to
host Summer Olympics.
That bid was turned down by the government, and the audit
court said that construction of the C line was still off pace to
be completed in seven years.
"It's not the fault of one single project or of the person
who managed it," said Audit Court President Luigi Giampaolino
last year.
"This project includes every challenge imaginable -
institutional, procedural and technical".
Administrators point out that building a subway line in the
ancient city is a particularly difficult due to the endless
trove of artefacts underground that must be excavated before
construction can proceed.
They have also had to fight off allegations of waste and
corruption within Rome's department of transportation, most
recently in a probe into alleged kickbacks paid on city bus
contracts.
The extent of the risks - if any - facing the Colosseum is
still unclear.
The Colosseum, or Flavian Amphitheatre, is close to 2,000
years old and feeling its age as restoration work has been
stalled for years and only recently cleared the last bit of red
tape.
It is 189 meters by 156 meters and covers an area of 24,000
square meters - putting it right at the entrance of a bustling
metro stop.
Capable of seating 50,000 spectators, it was used for
gladiatorial contests, mock sea battles, executions and
re-enactments of mythological dramas.
Today, thousands of cars whiz around it during daily
rush-hour traffic, creating a patina of black soot around its
exterior.
Italia Nostra and other activists are pushing to make the
entire historic center accessible to pedestrians only.

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