The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing loans totalling €450 million to Autostrade per l’Italia in two separate operations. €250 million will finance the upgrading of the Firenze Nord-Barberino del Mugello Appenine stretch of the A1; and €200 million will support the 2011-2016 network safety improvement programme of Italy’s main motorway operator.

The loan agreement was signed in Rome today by the EIB Vice-President responsible for operations in Italy, Malta and the Western Balkans, Dario Scannapieco, and Autostrade per l’Italia’s CEO Giovanni Castellucci.

The Firenze Nord-Barberino project consists of upgrading 17 kilometres of the A1 in the Tuscan Appenines to three lanes. The A1 is Italy’s main motorway and forms part of corridor 1 of the trans-European transport networks (TENs T). The scheme involves a combination of modifying and widening the existing motorway and constructing new sections.

The safety investments consist of a variety of small and medium-scale schemes on 16 different sections managed by Autostrade the length of Italy. These include the refurbishment of a number of tunnels, reduction of noise pollution and installation of photovoltaic panels.

By dint of reducing traffic congestion north of Florence, speeding up traffic flows on the Appenine stretch of the A1, bringing environmental benefits and creating jobs, the operations are in line with the infrastructure financing policies defined by the European Commission and implemented by the EIB.