Work to Secure San Marco from Acqua Alta to Begin as Basilica Barriers Are Completed

The project will allow limiting the flooding caused by acqua alta, beginning in November with the procuratie Nuove and then with the installation of valves in the underground tunnels. Dialogue has been opened with businesses to limit disruptions.

28 October 2022

This morning in Venice the Superintendent of Public Works of Triveneto, Tommaso Colabufo, reviewing the upcoming work on the Marciana “island”, confirmed the conclusion of the work to protect the Basilica.

“We are completing the work on the barriers for the Basilica of San Marco, there are just the final paving stones to close off the glass and sealing of some points, after which the work will be done. We have fixed the date for removing the building site by Nov. 15.”

After the dismantling of the Basilica building site, the first stage of work for the waterproofing and raising of the islet of San Marco will begin, a project that will keep the area dry in case of tides between 80 and 110 centimeters (over which level MoSE will activate). Colabufo summarized the plan of interventions and the timeline for the first stage, which will cost 6 million Euro and foresees construction for about 13 months. Businesses and associations whose activities will be partially impacted by the construction also participated at a meeting held this morning at Ateneo Veneto.

First, at the beginning of November, the superintendency’s building site will open, which calls for the restoration of the portico of the procuratia Nuova (south side of the piazza), with the construction of scaffolding that will occupy it for its entire length. After this is mounted, “the work site will be there but will not be seen – specified Colabufo – because it will be protected from above by tarps that will impede the view and prevent debris from falling”. Therefore, aside from the noise, it should not create particular disruption.

However, on November 15 the Public Works project will begin (through Consorzio Venezia Nuova) for the interventions to protect the piazza. The most delicate site will be to the north of the basilica, in the area of the canonic, where the placement of the pavement and the underlying channels will be carried out. In that area, specified the superintendent, “there are very narrow calli, and some of the businesses along these will need to consider times and possible closures”. After this other small projects will proceed, to avoid blocking traffic and creating too much interference. Night work that is not noisy and compatible with acqua alta is also planned.

Another site concerns the south part of the piazza, in particular the placement of the tunnels in the pavement corresponding to the Caffè Florian, which will also require coordination with the business. During those days the affected area will have to be closed but, the supervisor assured, the economic operators would be warned 10-15 days in advance. Furthermore, permanent logistics bases will be set up to support mobile construction sites for the entire duration of the work. “We are trying to reduce the areas for storing materials as much as possible, said Colabufo. As soon as the companies begin to set up the work site there will be meetings on the subject with the merchants for organization in full safety”. Disruptions are inevitable, but “a small sacrifice in these months on the part of the businesses will lead to long term advantages”.

Further ahead, between February and March, the City’s construction projects will also begin, working to restore the pavement damaged by acqua alta with two sites in parallel, at the piazzetta and the sides of the procuratie Nuove. The objective, as explained by Commerce councilor Sebastiano Costalonga, is “to give the businesses a way to best manage the moment that will create their disruption. We want to be a point of reference for the merchants in case of need and to execute the interventions in the least amount of time possible”. The intention, moreover, is “to guarantee that VELA’s initiatives take place”, such as Carnevale.

Architect Francesco Lanza, director of the works, explains the nature of the project in this phase: “The first stage aims at guaranteeing the protection of the piazza from all tide phenomena. The interventions to raise the perimeter involve less than 300 square meters, a small recalibration towards the pier and interventions to the north of the piazza. In the four points in which the internal network of the piazza communicates with the outside there will be gate valves installed, which will rise with the acqua alta: in the tunnel at the level of the Generali (bacino Orseolo), in the one that connects the piazza with Rio della Luna (procuratie Nuove side), along the pier and in Calle della Cononica. There will then be some secondary completion projects linked to the underground service network”.

Source: Venezia Today

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