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Highway Orte-Mestre, Italy


The Orte-Mestre highway will cross Central and Northern-Eastern Italy, from Orte to Mestre, passing through Perugia, Cesena and Ravenna, for a total of 396 kilometers. Another stretch is supposed to connect Orte to Civitavecchia. This is one of the most important project for impact and cost among those included in the law “Legge Obiettivo” approved in 2001 where it has been declared as an infrastructure of public interest in 2003.

The first design of the project was not accepted by the National Commission of VIA (Environmental Impact Evaluation) in 2007. Conversely, a 2009 updated version of the same project was finally granted the VIA in 2010.

Since 2003 several opinion committees and environmental groups have dealt with problems related to such highway construction. The Stop Or-Me National Network was born on Dec 11, 2010; this includes organizations, associations, social movements, committees and representatives of some political parties, which, in different areas, are fighting against the highway construction. The Stop Or-Me Network believes the highway construction is useless, expensive and demaging the environmental and sites of historical interest, it entails high consumption of soil, cementing of areas next to the junction, increase of air and noise pollution and of hydro-geological instability. In addition, it is a waste of public money and will only support undesirable construction business. The Stop Or-Me Network has recommended some more sustainable and less expensive alternatives such as safety measures for the road E-45 and state highway (SH) 309 Romea, better mantainance of the existing infrastructures (for example A-13 highway), strengthening of the sea and rail transport. On October 16th, 2014 the Stop Or-Me Network has joined the mobilization against the legislative decree "Sblocca Italia" because of the support this latter is intended to give to the useless highway construction. "Opzione Zero", a committee belonging to the Stop Or-Me Network, has asked to all the Deputies and Senators, especially those from the Veneto region, to present an amendment that deletes paragraph 2 of article 4 from the "Sblocca Italia" legislative decree. The paragraph 2 is considered dangerous because it bypasses the Nov 10th 2014 Court of Auditors' negative order about the approval from the CIPE (Comitato Internazionale per la Programmazione Economica: International Committee for the Economic Planning) for the highway construction. On November 14th, 2014 a strike was called by the Stop Or-Me Network, labor union, social movements, occasional workers and students in order to show disagreement with the highway construction.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Highway Orte-Mestre, Italy
State or province:Italy
Location of conflict:Lazio, Toscana, Umbria, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Urban development conflicts
Specific commodities:Land

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The objectives of the Orte-Mestre highway are: I) To redistribute traffic flow along the stretch Venice-Padua-Bologna-Florence and Orte; II) To complete the highway along the Adriatic Coast which currently stops at Rimini; II) To improve accessibility in the area served by the new highway, as the costal area from Venice to Rimini, the harbor of Ravenna and the metropolitan areas of Forli, Cesena and Perugia; IV) To connect the Adriatic stretch with the southern Tyrrhenian coast and the Pan-European Corridor V; V) To improve the safety on Mestre-Ravenna (SS 309) and Cesena-Orte (E45) stretch. The new highway will be following the same route of E45 from Orte to Cesena and the same route of SH309 Romea from Ravenna to Mestre up to Villabona or more probably up to Roncaduro. However, it is still possible that, rather than the above mentioned solution, the final choice will be represented by a viaduct passing through the Riviera. The project involves the construction of 147 overpasses, 26 underpasses, more than 52 miles of viaducts, 17 Kilometers of tunnels and 17 new interchanges.

Along the way the highway will meet: 11 thousand hectares of SIC (areas of Community Interest) 5,800 hectares of SPAs (special protection areas); 8,300 acres of national parks. The European Commission has officially declared that the Orte-Mestre highway is not part of the "Trans-European Networks-Transport". In November 2013, the CIPE approved the preliminary project. However, in September 2014, the Court of Auditors blocked the CIPE's resolution. This was done because, according to the judges, it was not possible to spend one billion and 800 thousand Euros of task relief, which were supposed to be obtained, according to the Orte-Mestre highway financial plan. The second clause of article number 4 of the "Sblocca Italia" Decree has granted public funding through the mechanism of task relief. Thanks to this, the Court of Auditors judge's decision has not a legal value. In November 2014, the CIPE approved the preliminary project again. Currently, the Italian government has asked EC to include the Orte-Mestre highway project into the "Piano Junker".

The level of investment comprises 12,400,000,000.00 dollars for financing and bond project with a public funding of 2,232,000,000.00 dollars through the mechanism of task relief regarding IVA, IRES and IRAP.

Project area:396 km (length of the Orte Mestre highway)
Level of Investment:12,400,000,000.00 USD
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:10,280,000 million (inhabitants of the regions involved)
Start of the conflict:01/01/2003
Company names or state enterprises:Scetaroute S.A.
Egis Projects S.A from France
ILI Autostrade S.p.A. from Italy
MEC S.r.l. from Italy
Technip Italy S.p.A. from Italy
Transroute International S.A.
Relevant government actors:- Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. - Ministry of Enviroment and Land Protection. - Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities. - Cipe - Administrations and Local Authorities (of 5 Regions, 11 Provinces, 48 Municipalities).
International and Finance InstitutionsCarige Bank from Italy
Efibanca from Italy
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Stop Or-Me Network

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Other Environmental impactsOsservations about the Environmental Impact Study presented by the No-Ar Network and WWF Italy
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsStudy regarding the exposure of the population to urban pollution
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Other socio-economic impactsRecent inquests have shown that all major initiatives in the construction industry are the main lifeblood of the "gang of building affairs" and mafias in the all Country. Many if not all political parties are fully involved in this business getting around the national laws, in order to support "big businesses", as the Orte-Mestre highway.


Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:The Stop Or-Me Network suggests: I) to secure the SH 309 Romea; II) to diverge traffic on the A-13 highway; III) to increase the river and sea transport; IV) to increase the rail transport.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Currently, all attempts of Stop Or-Me Network against highway construction have not generated significant achievements as far as the Italian Government is concerned. Indeed, with the "Sblocca Italia" decree, the Italian Government has rejected people demands for the environmental protection of all involved areas. The Italian Government, rather, has supported a development model based on major initiatives in the construction industry.

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Decreto Legge 12 settembre 2014, n. 133

Inquadramento dell’opera

- Deliberazione n. SCCLEG/16/2014/PREV

- Progetto Preliminare e valutazione di impatto ambientale

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Il Casello incantato

Orte-Mestre: la nuova autostrada delle polemiche

Campagna soffocata dal cemento

E45 / Orte-Mestre. Dalle grandi opere alle opere utili ?

Giovazzi,G.Barbieri, Corruzione a norma di legge. La lobby delle grandi opere che affonda l'Italia, Rizzoli, 2014.

No Orte Mestre - In viaggio nei luoghi minacciati dalla futura autostrada

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Luca Martinelli, Il diavolo nel Comma: la Orte-Mestre.

Orte – Mestre: vinta una battaglia ma la lotta prosegue

Osservatorio territoriale Infrastrutture

Opzione Zero

Stop OR-ME Network

- Giorgio Meletti, Autostrada Orte - Mestre ecco il vero affare che spunta dalle carte dell’inchiesta Mose

Gianni Belloni, Orte-Mestre, protesta contro l’autostrada. Legambiente: “Progetto insostenibile”

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Facebook of Opzione Zero

No Orte Mestre - In viaggio nei luoghi minacciati dalla futura autostrada

Facebook of Stop Or-Me

Meta information

Contributor:Martina Di Russo Email: [email protected] and Alessandra Trischitta Email: [email protected], CDCA (
Last update06/02/2015



No Orte Mestre Demonstration


Orte Mestre map


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