ROME (Reuters) - An Italian-led consortium is likely to get the nod to build the ambitious Messina bridge, which will link Sicily and the mainland, Infrastructure Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Tuesday.
A consortium led by Italian group Salini-Impregilo, now called WeBuild , won the original 2006 tender, but the plan was subsequently withdrawn over concerns about the cost.
The new nationalist government has revived the project, and although it was receiving a lot of interest from foreign companies, Salvini said he thought the original Italian group could keep the contract.
In recent days the government "has received expressions of interest from all over the world, including China," for the bridge project, Salvini said during a news conference with the foreign press in Rome.
He added, the government goal is obviously that such "a major piece of Italian infrastructure, will be carried out by Italian companies".
Salvini confirmed that the government aimed to start works to build the bridge, a project that has long been discussed but never come to fruition, in the summer of 2024.
The deputy prime minister welcomed the interest from players around the world in the bridge "but there is already a consortium... so those who were awarded the European tender are the ones who will most likely continue with the final version of the project."
(Reporting by Alvise Armellini; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Keith Weir)