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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 August 2005, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Italy sub crosses Milan on wheels
Enrico Toti submarine arrives in Milan
The submarine was named after Italian WWI hero Enrico Toti
A 340-tonne Italian submarine has completed its last, expensive journey, reaching its destination - a Milan museum - on board a huge trailer.

The transport operation, said to have cost 1m euros (684,000), entailed four years of planning.

Streetlamps and traffic lights were temporarily removed and roundabouts flattened to allow it to pass.

The Enrico Toti was built in 1967 to track Soviet submarines in the Mediterranean during the Cold War.

Three-dimensional computer simulations were used to assess potential damage to buildings and bridges along the way.

"We had to flatten roundabouts, take down street lamps, cover tramlines, not to mention reinforcing the ground covering Milan's underground canal network," said Giovanni di Paolo, the engineer in charge of the submarine's transport.

When it arrived in Milan on Saturday night, tens of thousands of people were lining the streets to welcome it - knowing it will take a few months before it opens to the public at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum for Science and Technology.

Slow progress

The Toti, launched in 1967, was the first submarine to be built in post-war Italy.

Its final voyage started in 2001, when it travelled by sea from a naval base in Sicily along the Adriatic coast to Cremona, the last navigable port on the River Po, in northern Italy.

The road transfer was due to take place right away, but experts warned of the possible consequences of the submarine's weight on sewers, bridges and the underground train system.

The last leg of the journey, 92km (57 miles) from Cremona to Milan, lasted six days - or rather six nights - at an average speed of 6km/h (4mph) an hour.

Italian cities, including Milan, the country's business capital, are half-deserted in mid-August, and experts decided it would be the best time for the giant to roll into town.

The museum, which is planning to make the Toti its star attraction, is dedicated to Leonardo's futuristic designs for machines including the steam engine, the tank, the bicycle - and the submarine.

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