Photo: Jennifer Trenchard
Venice has a problem. We’ll look into what engineers are doing to help. Today, on Engineering Works!
The beautiful piazzas and famous canals of Venice are in trouble â€” they’ve got more water than they know what to do with. The thousand-year-old city is sinking into its famous lagoon, a few inches at a time. The water level is nine inches higher than it was a hundred years ago, 40 inches higher than 250 years ago.
The high water damages brick walls never intended to be in the water. There’s a lot of salt from the Adriatic Sea, too. Between the water and the salt, a lot of the city’s beautiful historic buildings are rotting.
A team of Italian engineers is working on a gigantic government-funded construction project they say will save Venice from the rising water. At its heart is a high-tech system of 300-ton concrete barriers that will be raised and lowered to protect the city from damaging tidal surges. Plus thousands of steel poles and other barriers on the floor of the lagoon to slow down the water.
They also plan to re-establish vanished wetlands and reinforce damaged foundations in the city itself. Altogether, the project will cost more than $4 billion and take seven years to complete.
Not everyone thinks it’s a good idea â€” or that it will help. But the engineers think it will. And it’s better than letting the city sink, they say.
We say, that’s it for this time. See you next week.
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