Italy has approved a funding of €1.3bn to build the Messina bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge.

The 12,000 ft long road-cum-rail bridge would link the island of Sicily to the Italian mainland and is expected to cost nearly €6.5bn.

The bridge, which will include a double six-lane highway along with railway tracks, is expected to carry nearly 4,500 cars an hour and replace slow ferry service between the island and mainland.

Funding for the project was revived after plans were scrapped after a parliamentary vote in October 2001.

Construction is expected to begin at the end of this year and finish in 2017.