Autostrada A3 (Italy)

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A3 Motorway
Autostrada A3
Autostrada Napoli-Reggio Calabria
Route information
Length: 494.9 km (307.5 mi)
Existed: 1974 – present
Major junctions
North end: Naples
South end: Reggio Calabria
Regions: Campania, Basilicata, Calabria
Highway system

Autostrade of Italy


The Autostrada A3 Napoli-Reggio Calabria is a motorway in Southern Italy, which runs from Naples to Reggio Calabria via Salerno. It runs through three regions: Campania (171 km), Basilicata (30 km) and Calabria (293.9 km).

Due to sections not being originally constructed to anywhere near Motorway standard and to the notoriously poor conditions of maintenance, and also to the difficult terrain along some of the route, the motorway has been often taken as a symbol of the backwardness and economical problems of southern Italy. Italian historian Leandra D'Antone has defined it "a true Italian shame".[1] The European Union declines to classify the road as a “motorway” due to the decades-long roadwork restrictions on a supposedly modern road[2] and seeks recompense for its financial contributions.[3]


The first stretch of the road to be completed was the Naples-Pompeii section, finished on 22 June 1929. The connection onward to Salerno was completed on 16 July 1961.

In 1964 the Italian government decided to build a motorway which connected the rest of Italy to Calabria, so far considered a kind of "Third Island" (together with Sicily and Sardinia), due to the nature of its terrain, which made it problematic to reach the region. The new motorway was built in a total of 8 years, the works being delivered on 13 June 1974.

The road built by 1974 is more similar to a sub-standard freeway (Italian: strada statale, "state road") than to the other autostrade (motorways) in Italy.[4] Queues became a common feature, especially in summer. To solve the situation, the Italian government funded renovation works in 1997. As of 2010, many of them are still ongoing, despite it being announced in 1993 that the works would be completed by 2003.[5] The EU antifraud investigation of works undertaken between 2007 and 2010 together with the repayment of over €300m to the EU in July 2012 have delayed completion of the upgrade works even further.[3][6]

The cost of the upgrade to date (August 2013) is projected to reach over €10bn by the time it is eventually completed, perhaps by 2018. The section from Salerno and Reggio Calabria alone, 442 km long, will cost €10bn with the rest spent on widening/upgrades already completed between Naples and Salerno. €7.443 Bn has been spent so far on parts of the 442 km section between Salerno and Reggio Calabria.[7][8] As of 2015, it has been improved and the road is now in good shape.


The entire road was a substandard freeway[9] when the upgrade program from Naples to Reggio Calabria started in the early 1990s. The section with three lanes has a length of 105 km, between Naples and RA02 which goes towards Potenza. The section from the interchange with the A1 motorway in Naples to the Pompeii exit, built during the 1920s, originated as a local turnpike, and was later retrofitted to motorway standard. Many of the junctions along the route have very tight corners and extremely limited deceleration fields; this is especially significant on the now more than 50-year-old Naples-Salerno section, where at some junctions there are stop-signs for traffic entering the motorway.[4] Hard shoulders are only recently appearing along the entire route, with only occasional emergency bays at infrequent locations on the sections that have not been upgraded yet. Most of the route is often congested even where upgraded.[10] The concession of the Northern part was owned by Autostrade Meridionali, a company listing in Borsa Italiana and a subsidiary of Autostrade per l'Italia, which in turn a subsidiary of Atlantia.

The southern segment (Salerno-Reggio Calabria) is toll-free and is maintained by ANAS, the state agency for public routes. Located in a mountainous area, it is prone to very high levels of traffic (especially at the start and at the end of holiday periods) and is known for the bad state of maintenance compared to other Italian motorways.[9] ANAS has been slowly upgrading this section for the last three decades.[9]

Upgrade progress

The motorway is currently undergoing heavy modernisation, in many cases a completely new parallel motorway is being built alongside the original A3 and involving in most cases a complete rebuilding or replacement of the road where the alignment is retained.[11]

In August 2014, works on 391 km of the road (88%) were completed. 16 more km of rebuilding/modernization was then due to be completed.[12]

A number of new junctions are also to be constructed, in some cases to service certain towns with no direct access at present.[13]

By March 2016 68 km remained to be done. Plans to upgrade 58 km were changed from Motorway Construction to "Maintennce" [14][15]

Sections to be 'maintained' rather than upgraded to Motorway standard are:

Morano Calabro - Firmo, from km 185 + 000 to km 206 + 500: 21 km

Cosenza - Altilia, from km 259 + 700 to km 286: 26 km

Pizzo Calabro - S.Onofrio, from km 337 + 800 to km 348 + 600: 11 km

The motorway standard road will terminate at Campo Calabro approximately 10 km to the north of Reggio Calabria, and the remaining 10 km of old A3 into Reggio Calabria will not be upgraded to full motorway standards.


Favazzina Viaduct
Rago Viaduct
Exit↓km↓↑km↑ProvinceEuropean Route
Napoli Centro2,0 51,6 NA 
Napoli San Giovanni a Teduccio 2,5 46,1 NA 
Roma, Firenze, Bologna, Milano 2,5 4,1 NA 
Napoli Ponticelli-S.Giorgio Nord 5,5 45,2 NA
San Giorgio a Cremano 6,4 45,2 NA
Portici (Bellavista) 8,0 43,6 NA
Ercolano 8,5 43,1 NA
Torre del Greco (Nord) 11,5 40,1 NA
Torre Annunziata Nord 15,0 36,6 NA
Torre Annunziata Sud 20,0 31,6 NA
Pompei Ovest21,9 29,7 NA
Castellammare di Stabia22,5 29,1 NA
Scafati-Pompei Est 25,0 26,6 NA
Angri 29,7 21,9 SA
Nocera Inferiore 36,6 15,0 SA
Cava de' Tirreni 42,9 8,7 SA
Vietri sul Mare 48,4 3,2 SA
Salerno 51,6 0,0 SA
Salerno Fratte 0,0 442,9 SA
RA02 Avellino
Napoli - Canosa
0,2 442,7 SA
San Mango Piemonte 7,3 435,7 SA
Pontecagnano 13,0 429,9 SA
Montecorvino Pugliano 17,5 425,4 SA
Battipaglia 23,0 419,9 SA
Eboli 30,0 412,9 SA
Campagna36,1 406,8 SA
Contursi Terme-Postiglione46,0 396,9 SA
Sicignano - Potenza
RA05 Potenza
54,0 388,9 SA
Petina 65,0 377,9 SA
Polla 76,0 366,9 SA
Atena Lucana 83,0 359,9 SA
Sala Consilina 88,0 354,9 SA
Padula - Buonabitacolo 104,0 338,9 SA
Maratea-Lagonegro Nord 124,0 318,9 PZ
Lagonegro Sud 126,0 316,9 PZ
Lauria Nord 138,0 304,9 PZ
Lauria Sud 145,0 297,9 PZ
Laino Borgo 153,0 289,9 CS
Mormanno-Scalea 164,0 278,9 CS
Campotenese 174,0 268,9 CS
Castrovillari-Morano Calabro 185,0 257,9 CS
Castrovillari-Frascineto 194,0 248,9 CS
Sibari 208,0 234,9 CS
Altomonte 214,0 228,9 CS
Spezzano 220,0 222,9 CS
Tarsia 225,0 217,9 CS
Torano 235,0 207,9 CS
Montalto Uffugo 246,0 196,9 CS
Cosenza Nord
253,0 189,9 CS
Cosenza 259,0 183,9 CS
Rogliano - Grimaldi 273,0 169,9 CS
Altilia 286,0 156,9 CS
San Mango d'Aquino 294,0 148,9 CZ
Falerna 304,0 138,9 CZ
Lamezia Terme
320,0 122,9 CZ
Pizzo 339,0 103,9 VV
Sant'Onofrio-Vibo Valentia 348,0 94,9 VV
Serre 359,0 83,9 VV
Mileto 370,0 72,9 VV
SGC Jonio-Tirreno: Marina di Gioiosa Ionica
383,0 59,9 RC
Service area "Rosarno" 390,0 56,9 RC
Gioia Tauro 393,0 49,9 RC
Palmi 401,0 41,9 RC
Sant'Elia 408,0 34,9 RC
Bagnara Calabra 412,0 30,9 RC
Scilla 423,0 19,9 RC
Santa Trada of Cannitello (cancelled from 2008) 423,0 RC
Service area "Villa San Giovanni" 433,0 10,0 RC
Villa San Giovanni
Car ferry to Sicily
434,0 8,9 RC 
Campo Calabro 435,0 7,9 RC 
Reggio Catona - Arghillà 436,0 6,9 RC 
Reggio Gallico 437,0 5,9 RC 
Reggio maritime port - Promenade
Car ferry to Sicily
441,6 1,3 RC 
RA04 Reggio Calabria - SS106 442,5 0,4 RC 
Reggio Calabria Nord442,9 0,0 RC 
Reggio Calabria: end of the A3 and beginning of the RA04 that connects with the SS106.

See also


  1. (Italian) ...una vera e propria «vergogna italiana», in La storia della Salerno Reggio Calabria Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., book about Salerno-Reggio Calabria
  2. Organised crime may be behind problems with southern motorway: Awkward questions remain about Italian infrastructure, in
  3. 1 2
  4. 1 2 (Italian) l'autostrada, completamente statale e senza pedaggio, con le sue due corsie, somiglia più ad una strada statale Salerno-Reggio Calabria: L’autostrada che non c'è Archived February 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., La Soria siamo noi, Rai Educational, in which the A3 is defined "the most devastated motorway stretch in Italy".
  5. Completion of the upgrade work has been, as of 2010, postponed to 2012-13, see: (Italian)Autostrade: Salerno-Reggio Calabria pronta per 2012-2013 Archived July 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., ItaliaInformazione, July 8, 2009
  6. Italy Repays €307m to EU after Road Project Mafia Corruption.
  7. (Italian)"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-08-21. Stradaneanas Works Update (in Italian)
  8. (Italian) Around €10bn projected for Salerno = Reggio upgrade 06 March 2011 (in Italian)
  9. 1 2 3 Photos and videos of the Salerno-Reggio Calabria "scandal" at A3 Salerno-Reggio Calabria:uno Scandalo! Archived April 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.,, January 23, 2010
  10. (Italian) Viaggio dall’A3 al traghettamento sullo Stretto Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.,, August 7, 2009
  11. (Italian) Salerno Reggio Calabria ed il General Contractor unico Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Le strade, may 2007
  12. (Italian)ANAS Update Summer 2014 Archived September 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. Pietro Ciucci ANAS CEO Speech in Brussels 14 November 2012 (English)
  14. "A3 Upgrade History". Stradeanas. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  15. "'Maintenance' Plan Infographic March 2016 ( Italian)" (PDF). Stradeanas. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 19, 2016.

External links

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