MoSE, the first tests in rough seas, the dams at Chioggia are raised successfully


Technicians are satisfied. Winds at 12 meters per second, waves 1 meter high. The problem of maintenance remains

1 April 2020

By Alberto Vitucci

Wind speed at 12 meters per second, waves 1 meter high. The first test of MoSE in rough sea conditions was conducted yesterday morning at Chioggia. Half of the barriers, nine dams, remained raised for almost 2 hours. According to the technicians the test had a positive result. “There is no movement of the barriers in these conditions”, they said at the end of the operations, run by a team made up of technicians and engineers who coordinated by radio. For a day the controversies among the commissioners left space for them. The raising took almost an hour. Then the dams returned to their base, emptied of air. The work is still being coordinated with the “manual” system, as the facilities are still under construction. Also present was a team of young engineers who now must learn the phases of the emergency.

While they fight in Rome and there is no certainty about future funding, in the lagoon testing continues. Testing which was begun long before the arrival of Super-Commissioner Elizabetta Spitz, who has now concluded her first trimester report on the state of the work, confirming what the administrators had already speculated. That is, the completion of the facilities by the end of the month of June. The work has now been made possible by the fact that the prefect has authorized the operations – notwithstanding the fact that they are included in the Coronavirus decree as non-essential activities – allowing the work to go forward.

Yesterday workers and engineers were in masks and gloves. The companies of the Consorzio themselves have requested that the work be done in conditions of “maximum security”.

Today is the second test, with the other half of the dams in the mouth of Chioggia. It’s a relatively “simple” gate, given the smaller dimensions of the dams and the shallower seabed. [Ed. Note: the second test went well too, with dams raised for two hours in rough water and wind.]

So everything is okay?

Not really, because now questions emerge that have been set aside for years, and at times minimized during the management of the Consorzio by Mazzacurati and the large companies which were then involved in the bribery scandal. In the design of the dams it is clearly written, for example, that they have to be replaced every five years. Five years after being put in service, therefore, all 78 dams on the lagoon floor will have to be removed, checked and replaced.

What to do? The first dams at Treporti, inaugurated when the bribery scandal had not yet exploded, have been underwater since 2013. It’s been seven years. According to the timetable written by the designers they should be replaced. Here are the high costs of maintenance, which could run as high as €100 million per year.

But it is also possible that the dams can last longer. In this case the costs could be reduced. There is great uncertainty about this point, not least because the location where the dams will be maintained has not yet been clarified. The bid for maintenance been canceled, pending an appeal by a company that was excluded, Cimolai of Pordenone. But instructions have not yet arrived from the Provveditorato or from Commissioner Spitz on how to begin this work. There is a provision signed by former superintendent Linetti which moves the work for cleaning the dams from Arsenale to Marghera, to restore the historic shipbuilding complex, as associations and the Forum Arsenale have requested for a long time. But it will also save tens of millions of euro, as demonstrated by a study commissioned by Linetti himself. But everything is stopped.

Meanwhile the tests continue.

Source: La Nuova Venezia

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