Italy has launched a tender for construction of a long-awaited bridge linking Sicily with mainland Italy, Italian television has reported.
The bridge has proved to be a controversial project
According to state TV channel Rai Uno, prospective contractors have until 13 July to submit their bids.
Construction of the bridge - expected to cost 4.6bn euros ($5.5bn; £3.1bn) - will begin in late 2005 and take more than six years, the report said.
The toll for cars using the 3.6 kilometre bridge will be 9.5-16 euros.
The bridge will be one of the biggest and most costly public works projects undertaken in Italy.
It is projected to stand 64 metres above sea level, carrying a double six-lane highway and four tracks for a high-speed railway line.
The project is popular with Sicilian politicians and administrators, but has been criticised by environmentalists as a waste of money.