July 14, 2020

Venice tests for the first time one of its three barriers against the tides

The Italian city of Venice (northeast) has tested one of the three barriers with which it will be protected from sea rises, a mechanism that is expected to be completed in 2021 and which was missing in the severe floods of three weeks ago.

Specifically, one of the three barriers that will have to isolate the Venetian lagoon from the Adriatic Sea in case of great tides was completely raised, that of the Malamocco Pass, the most frequented by merchant traffic and by the cruise ships for being the deepest.

The test took place last night before the mayor of the city, Luigi Brugnaro, who celebrated this "historic moment."

"It is a unique engineering work, pride of our science and our technology. We must finish it and put it into operation. It will be the symbol of resistance," he encouraged in his social networks.

It was the first time that the entire Malamocco barrier was put into operation, with its nineteen locks, and has served to verify that the vibrations detected in October have been repaired.

"On the vibrations recorded in the Malamocco barrier pipes on October 24, tonight's test has shown that the interventions carried out these days have solved the problem," the dike managers said in a statement.

The barrier is known as MOSE, an acronym for Electromechanical Experimental Module, and began to be built in 2003 to isolate the delicate city from the tidal channels in case they involve an increase in sea level greater than 110 centimeters.

It consists of three underwater barriers that rise to close the three exits of the Venetian lagoon to the open sea: Malamocco, Lido and Chioggia.

The work, with a cost of 5,500 million euros, has suffered numerous delays, in addition to corruption scandals, and is currently in the experimental phase, as it is expected to be operational by the end of 2021.

The MOSE was heavily criticized after the Venice flood on the night of November 12, with a historic sea surge of 187 centimeters, the largest since 194, 1966, half a century ago.

The Malamocco barrier, tested last night, is important because it is the deepest port mouth, 14 meters deep, and to seal it, 19 locks 29.5 meters high, 4.5 meters thick and 350 tons

During the tests "useful and necessary" data have been collected to assess its operation in the coming days.

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