Barriers to protect the Basilica di San Marco from acqua alta pass first tests

The glass plates were subjected to a hydraulic test that simulated a rising tide and successfully contained the water. The barriers are scheduled to be installed in October.

By Eugenio Pendolini

23 July 2022

VENICE. They will be an average of five meters wide, according to where they are placed. Once embedded in the soil they will be just over a meter high. The plates are several centimeters thick. In all, there are thirty pieces to cover the 130-meter perimeter identified by the project to protect the Basilica di San Marco from tides over 88 centimeters.

They are finally here, the glass barriers destined to save one of the jewels of Venice, which is increasingly at risk due to the corrosive action of the lagoon waters, which has provoked infiltration and damage to the marble and mosaics of inestimable value. In recent days the first hydraulic test of the glass barriers was carried out in front of the managers of the Povveditorato and Consorzio Venezia Nuova.

The result? Positive, the technicians assure us. Inside a test building a tide simulation was created. No deformation of the glass barriers was exhibited, and the water was completely contained.

“There is great satisfaction with the results achieved, with many of the technical and financial difficulties almost completely resolved”, explains Renzo Rossi, owner of the company of the same name that is in charge of the work, “a thank you especially to the workers and technicians involved. The Provveditorato, and in particular engineer Sorrentino, who worked hard for this result”.

This first test must of course be followed by the true test in Piazza San Marco, with the installation of the barriers, which will have to be set at least seventy centimeters deep into the foundations of the Basilica.

And the schedule? In recent months the Provveditorato indicated the month of October for completion of the work. It’s a race against time, therefore. According to the initial indications, all thirty of the barriers should be ready by August. After which they will be transported to San Marco and the installation will begin.

Thus the project is entering the last mile, after the many delays caused by the well-known events involving the Consorzio Venezia Nuova, with its failure to pay the companies in charge of the work. The construction began last fall and then was halted for months. Then, at the beginning of the summer the workers returned to the job.

Not without difficulty, once again because new finds have been made during the excavation at the job site in San Marco, with the discovery of skulls and other human remains dating back to the Middle Ages. The most recent discoveries in this sense were made at the height of the Acritan pillars, the two monoliths placed in front of the southern façade of the Basilica of San Marco and covered with scaffolding by the Superintendency.

The scaffolding is a precautionary measure for the work now being done involving the foundation of the Basilica, that is, where the glass plates will have to be installed.

While the barriers will serve to protect the Basilica, precise dates and times have yet to be established for the work that will serve to protect the entire Marciana area. The six million euro for the first stage of the intervention to raise the island has been set aside. Now we await the start of an intervention that will be fundamental to eliminating all the medium-high tides from the Piazza, which have seen a constant increase in recent years.

-Source: La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre


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