Venice has successfully deployed its new system of anti-flood barriers amid a storm combined with a high tide. The ambitious project had dragged on for decades, suffering from ballooning costs and repeatedly missed deadlines.

The MOSE (Experimental Electromechanical Module) project barrier was deployed at the entrance to the Venetian lagoon on Saturday as the Italian city braced for an incoming storm and high tide. The network of 78 yellow barriers emerged from the sea bed some three hours before water was expected to come.

First time against high water #Venice Amazing test

The barrier is designed to protect the city from tides of up to three meters (9.8 ft) high. The Saturday tide was forecast to be merely 1.3 meters (4.27 ft) high, which is enough to flood the lowest parts of the city, yet significantly less than the worst-recorded floods that nearly reached the two meter (6.56 ft) mark.

++ A #Venezia il #Mose in azione++ 🔴 Alle 09.52 completato l’innalzamento di tutte le paratoie

The barrier worked, stopping the tide from entering the city. Imagery from the scene shows its streets remained rather dry – except for being washed by rain.

The MOSE project was conceived back in the 1980s and its construction has dragged on for decades, first missing the 2011 deadline and then the new 2018 one. The cost of the barrier has grown more than fourfold over the years, increasing from an estimated €1.3 billion to an eye-watering sum of at least  €5.5 billion.

The barrier was first tested back in July and its creators deemed the structure ready for actual use during bad weather.

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